Miss Coco is the Director of Miss Coco Murray, a mobile dance education business and the Artistic Director of Coco Collective, an intergenerational, multi-disciplinary team of artists offering collaborative arts-based projects.
Coco is an award-winning artist, social entrepreneur, cultural arts programmer, dance educator, mentor, performer and writer. She is Canadian Dance Assembly's 2013 recipient of their "I love Community" dance award. In 2014, she was named a Role Model in the inaugural Black Canadian Awards. She is recognized by Toronto Arts Foundation as a 2019 Community Arts Award finalist, winning the $10,000 prize for her significant contributions in transforming local communities through art.
Miss Coco is a Toronto-born dancer of South American heritage. She specializes in diverse dance forms from West Africa, South Africa, Caribbean Folk and Afrobeat styles. Additionally as an higher education administrator, she holds 25 years of experience in the arts community. She trained for a few years part of COBA's professional apprentice training program and studies dance forms with many master teachers from West Africa, Caribbean and USA. With support from the Canada, Ontario and Toronto Arts Councils, she is grateful for the funding support for her dance development and arts-based projects she designs for diverse sectors. She performed for several years among Toronto-based dance companies and collaborates with intergenerational artists. Previous affiliations included Caribbean Folk Performers, Ijo Vudu, Caribbean Dance Theatre, Alpha Rhythm Roots, Baro Dunumba, Kobena Aquaa-Harrison, Ronald Taylor Dance and Black Stars Entertainment. Past highlights are two performances in the NBA Toronto Raptors half-time show as part of Esie Mensah Creations for Giants of Africa(2015) and the NBA Celebrates Black History Month in 2017.
Miss Coco's journey began when she performed, apprenticed and taught recreational dance classes in her childhood neighbourhood with the City of Toronto, Parks and Recreation division. This was a social response to insert cultural dance where it was egregiously absent and bridge a disconnection she had with her multi-ethnic heritage. After 13 years teaching with the City of Toronto, she transitioned to teach in schools and arts organizations such as dance Immersion, Kaleidascope’s program in Scarbourough Arts and East End Arts. She previously served as chief choreographer for Ngoma Drum & Dance Ensemble, dance faculty of Children's Youth & Dance Theatre and helped to establish AFIWI Groove and teach its first dance class in the Durham region.
This MEd candidate holds a BA in Sociology from the University of Toronto and a Specialized Honours BA in Race, Ethnicity & Indigeneity (Summa Cum Laude) from York University. Her graduate research focuses on culturally-responsive pedagogy and the teaching experiences of cultural artists within educational institutions. She was sought out for workshops and arts programming by existing performance groups. She held dance workshops in South Africa and Costa Rica during her study abroad, teaching the creative arts program at Hamutsha Primary School and facilitated a Ministry of Education dance workshop for 200 educators/principals for the Limpopo District School Board in South Africa. She continues to develop cultural arts-based opportunities across the Ontario, such as Afrodance 101 a SPARK project with the City of Toronto's Cultural Hotspot.
She is an established arts educator with Vibe Arts, Creative Connect mentor with Nia Centre for the Arts and a mentor to emerging dance artists with the Window of Opportunity's project funded by the Ontario Black Youth Action Plan. Coco supported the Cultural Pluralism Arts Movement Ontario as a Research Assistant. She is also a contributing writer with Dance Current Magazine and Dance Collection Dance.
Coco's social entreprenuership goal
"To enter spaces, passionately invest in the Canadian arts industry and empower others to value cultural arts"