PORT OF SPAIN, October 25, 2016 -  The 2016 Contemporary Choreographers’ Collective (COCO) Dance Festival expanded to include two weekends of events with multiple opportunities for lovers of dance and the performing arts to get involved.

On Thursday 20, October 2016 members of the dance community and media gathered at the Résidence de France for the launch of the 2016 instalment of the COCO Dance Festival.

His Excellency HédiPiquart, Ambassador of France to The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago hosted a private function for media and sponsors in partnership with COCO and the Alliance Française de Trinité-et-Tobago. His Excellency José María Fernández López de Turiso, Ambassador of Spain to The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago was also in attendance.

The French Ambassador brought warm opening remarks, endorsing the festival and highlighting the COCO 2016 participants from Martinique.

"...'Athens was the homeland of philosophers. France is the homeland of the Sciences and the Arts'. This sentence shows the long-time interest held by our nation toward the different kinds of expression of the human genius, and particularly for the artistic expression in its entire diversity. It’s for this very reason that we wished to show our support to the Coco Dance Festival, through this press conference," he said in his opening address.

"This edition will also, from the 28th of October, give the opportunity to a company of Martinican dancers to perform in Trinidad. This allows us to remember the strong cultural heritage which links those two islands since more than two centuries."

Martinique will feature at the COCO Dance Festival this year in the presence of dancers and choreographers, Christiane Emmanuel and John Fandino. Emmanuel studied at the International Academy of Dance in Paris and Fandino has danced with several prestigious companies including the Tierra Colombiana Folkloric Dance Company. Their style is a contemporary dance imprinted with Afro-Caribbean influences, which feeds into all their other artistic practices.

The second weekend will feature activities held at the Queen's Hall Auditorium beginning with the 2016 COCO Awards on Friday 28th at &:30 p.m. with a full dance showcase, and on Friday only, a special ballet dance presentation by ‘The Dying Swan, Ras Nijinsky in Drag as Pavlova’ MokoJumbie Carnival King danced by Jhawhan Thomas. COCO Main Stage dance showcases will on Saturday 29th at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday 30th at 6:30 p.m.

Each night of COCO Dance Festival from the 28th to 30th of October, dance lovers can look forward to a different programme of performances from a diverse cast of selected COCO Choreographers and guest choreographers from all around the world.

Some highlights include, a performance of 'The Night Women' by 3 Canal based on the same novel by Jamaican author Marlon James, along with local and international choreographers who have been selected and will present new and recent work including; Candace Thompson (T&T/USA), Courtenay Thorne (Barbados/Trinidad and Tobago), Helanius Wilkins (USA), Jacob Cino, Jillene Forde, Lucette Regis, Nicollette Brathwaite, Sade Chance, Zhané George. The work of COCO co-founders Sonja Dumas, and Nicole Wesley will also be presented.

The guest cast features Jeanne Travers in collaboration with Lisa Roll (USA), Chris Rudd (Jamaica/USA) and Tara Jane Herbert for the Barbados Dance Collective (Barbados) and NeilaEbanks (Jamaica).

Tickets for the festival cost only TT $120 and are available at Bread Basket (Woodbrook), The Little Carib Theatre, Queen's Hall Auditorium and Shift Contemporary Dance Company (San Fernando) and participating choreographers. For more information, please join the COCO Dance Festival Facebook.com page at www.facebook.com/COCODanceFest or connect with COCO via email to cocodancett@gmail.com.

WHAT:    COCO Dance Festival 2016
WHO:     Contemporary Choreographers’ Collective
WHEN:   Friday October 28, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. including the COCO Awards.
              Saturday October 29, 2016. Showtime at 7:30 p.m.
              Sunday October 30, 2016.  Showtime at 6:30 p.m.
WHERE:  Queen’s Hall
               Bread Basket (Woodbrook), The Little Carib Theatre, Queen's Hall
               Auditorium and Shift
               Contemporary Dance Company (San Fernando) and participating