Ribbon Rouge Presents: STEP Team Dancers


Today we are featuring a local troupe of dancers that formed from last year’s Ribbon Rouge Gala!  We have seen them grow and develop over the past year and are so proud to have them back at Ribbon Rouge were it all started.  A sort of homecoming for these amazing local dancers.  Today we sit down and chat with the STEP Dancers!

Ribbon Rouge: Who are you? Tell us a little bit about yourself and your history/ what you think is important about who you are?

STEP Dancers: We are a diverse group of individuals that love to perform. Actually, we first came together for the Ribbon Rouge 2014 and we grew from there. We created a Step dance and a mix of Afrobeats in our first performance. Due to our diverse background we learn different styles of dance and incorporate them in our performance. This includes Step dance, Hip Hop, Afrobeats, and even Caribbean. Our taste for music and dance is different such that it encompasses a wide audience. We hope that our upbeat taste entertains both young and old.

RR: What do you stand for?

STEP: We stand for creativity from diversity. The makeup of our group shows our diversity. We find unity through music and dance, and our passion for performance brings us together.

We also incorporate other kinds of creativity. Not only dance, but also through writing and role playing. We give ourselves opportunity to be both creative and expressive.


Our theme this year is QUEEN! It is an ode to powerful women who have positively influenced us by their lives. Ribbon Rouge: What does this mean to you?

STEP: It is a time to honour women that defy all odds, those that empower us to live differently. This includes TV personalities and individuals we meet on a daily basis. It could be even someone we encounter at the local store. These women’s lives tell a story/stories that motivate us to rethink our lifestyle – to live with purpose.

RR: How do you feel about femininity/ womanhood/ the state of affairs of women’s rights in our country?

STEP: There is tremendous progress in our country; women have many opportunities to be in positions of power and decision making. A great recent illustration is the milestone that half of our Ministers in the Cabinet are female!


RR: Who is your Queen (inspiration)? Why?

STEP: Our Mothers. They exemplify courage, resilience, and grace.

RR: Tell us about your art?

STEP: It is an eclectic mix of Pan African music and movement

RR: What does it mean to you?

STEP: It is a major part of who we are. Dance is not only just a form of artistic expression but it also stems from the soul.


RR: Your advice to women?

STEP: Be unique,

Be yourself,

Love and trust in yourself a 100% and go out there and reveal yourself to the world!

RR: What does Ribbon Rouge mean to you?

STEP: It raises awareness about the role that women play in Society and how sometimes we take them for granted. Also it shows how we can work together to help other women across the world and execute change.

RR: Where can we find you/ more of your work?

STEP: We have yet to establish a significant online presence, but we plan to do so in the near future. However we do currently take bookings at 780-668-8592.

The STEP Dancers will once again be on stage rocking their hip style on November 28st, 2015 at Ribbon Rouge in Edmonton!   And don’t forget to buy tickets for Ribbon Rouge 2015!  Tickets can be purchased online here.

Ribbon Rouge #8

When: November 28, 2015 Doors open at 6pm; Show at 7pm

Where: ATB Financial Arts Barns

HIV Stats and Facts


Today we present some HIV stats and facts in the lead up to our Ribbon Rouge Gala, November 28th at the ATB Arts Barn

People don’t think of the western world when they think of HIV. They don’t tend to think of women either. The stigma that HIV carries pushes people living with this infection into silence along with various psycho-social difficulties. Here are some HIV stats and facts.

In 2011, 71,3000 Canadians were living with HIV. This is an increase of 11% since 2008. In Alberta, there were 255 new cases of HIV reported bringing the total to 6.2 people per 100,000. And most revealing of all? About one quarter of people living with HIV in Canada are unaware that they have HIV.

Other information, that people seem unaware of is that 28% of new HIV infections in Canada are in women. Edmonton and Northern Alberta have the highest infections rates for all STIs other than Syphilis. Globally, HIV is the leading killer of women of child bearing age.

So what exactly is HIV? #TheBasics

HIV, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is a virus that weakens your immune system and decreases your body’s ability to defend against illness and disease. You can be infected with HIV and not have any symptoms for years, and during that time you can pass the disease on to other people.

There are five body fluids that contain enough HIV to infect someone: blood, semen (including pre-cum), rectal fluid, vaginal fluid, and breast milk. HIV can only get passed when one of these fluids from an HIV-positive person gets exposed to another person – through broken skin, the opening of the penis or wet linings of the body, such as the vagina, rectum, or foreskin. HIV cannot pass through healthy, unbroken skin.

The two main ways that HIV can be transmitted are through sex  without a barrier like without condoms (so called: unprotected anal or vaginal sex), or by sharing needles or other drug injection equipment. HIV can also be passed, though much less often, through:

  • from mother to child during pregnancy or during birth (when the proper checks and balances are not place)
  • unprotected oral sex.

HIV cannot be transmitted by:

  • talking, shaking hands, working, or eating with someone who has HIV
  • hugs or kisses
  • coughs or sneezes
  • swimming pools
  • toilet seats or water fountains
  • bed sheets or towels
  • forks, spoons, cups, or food
  • insects or animals

Support HIV awareness in 2015, and help bust these myths. Support getting to zero stigma, zero new infections, and zero mother to child transmissions. Join us at our gala.

Ribbon Rouge Presents: Tim Okamura

Street pose smaller-2

With only three weeks to go until Ribbon rouge, things are starting to heat up behind the scenes.  And this year we are so proud and excited to bring back, for the third year in a row, Tim Okamura!  Tim has been a part of Ribbon Rouge now for three consecutive years, donating his incredible art to help support our cause.  If you’re new to his art, or a returning fan, keep reading to get a glimpse of this amazing artist!

TIM OKAMURA                                                            Biography

Tim Okamura investigates identity, the urban environment, metaphor, and cultural iconography through a unique method of painting – one that combines an essentially ‘realist’ approach to the figure with collage, spray paint and mixed media. The juxtaposition of the rawness and urgency of street art and academic ideals has created a visual language that acknowledges a traditional form of story-telling through portraiture, while infusing the work with resonant contemporary motifs.

Born in Edmonton, Canada, painter Tim Okamura earned a B.F.A. with Distinction at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, Canada before moving to New York City to attend the School of Visual Arts in 1991. After graduating with an M.F.A. in Illustration as Visual Journalism, Okamura moved to Brooklyn, New York, where he continues to live and work.


Okamura – a recipient of the 2004 Fellowship in Painting from the New York Foundation for the Arts – has exhibited extensively in galleries throughout the U.S. and Canada, and has been selected nine times to appear in the prestigious BP Portrait Award Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London, England.

In 2006, Okamura was short-listed by the Royal Surveyor of the Queen’s Picture Collection for a commissioned portrait of the Queen of England.


In 2013, the University of North Carolina hosted a retrospective exhibition of Okamura’s work that focused on nearly a decade of production.


Tim Okamura’s art is on display in the permanent collections of the Davis Museum at Wellesley College, The Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Toronto Congress Center, the Hotel Arts in Calgary, Canada, and Standard Chartered Bank in London, England.

Celebrity collectors include Uma Thurman, musicians John Mellencamp, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson (The Roots), director Ben Younger, as well as actors Bryan Greenberg, Vanessa Marcil, Hill Harper, Annabella Sciorra, and Ethan Hawke.



Tim Okamura will be displaying his amazing art on November 28st, 2015 at Ribbon Rouge in Edmonton!   And don’t forget to buy tickets for Ribbon Rouge 2015!  Tickets can be purchased online here.

Ribbon Rouge #8

When: November 28, 2015 Doors open at 6pm; Show at 7pm

Where: ATB Financial Arts Barns