Parks, playgrounds and sidewalks: Winnipeg dancer gets her outdoor groove on

Winnipeg dancer and DJ Maribeth (Kilusan) Tabanera, facing a world with no indoor venues or competitions, has been dancing outside since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and hosting virtual DJ sets.

Maribeth (Kilusan) Tabanera shares her happy place in new series

Dancer hits the streets to practice and perform during COVID-19

2 years ago
Duration 2:11
Maribeth 'Kilusan' Tabanera, is a Winnipeg dancer and DJ. She shares her happy place in new multi-part series by local artists. Video by Maribeth 'Kilusan' Tabanera.

CBC Manitoba's Creator Network asked local artists to imagine their happy place as we head toward the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. This is the first of many projects we will share in the coming weeks. 

Maribeth (Kilusan) Tabanera finds her happy place. (Submitted by Maribeth (Kilusan) Tabanera)

Maribeth (Kilusan) Tabanera 

My happy place these days is self care and connecting with community through my artistic practice and my work as an educator. As a creator, this year has led me to innovate in ways that have been challenging, rewarding and eye-opening. 

Over the past year I have been developing a self-movement practice. Before the pandemic, I believed my schedule to be too full, or maybe I was too tired, but it was most likely a mixture of both.

I've spent many days dancing alone in my home and outside in parks. I developed a new relationship with the outdoors as well as with my neighbours. The combination of fresh air, loud music and passing smiling faces brought a sense of joy that I really needed.

Maribeth (Kilusan) Tabanera's happy place during the COVID-19 pandemic has been dancing on sidewalks, in parks and in playgrounds. (Submitted by Maribeth (Kilusan) Tabanera)

As the darkness came earlier, nights grew colder and lockdown restriction became tighter, I had to find a new space to connect with dancers and fellow music enthusiasts.

Since October, I've been hosting and DJing weekly Sunday Dance Sessions on a video chat platform and on my social media feed. Being able to have a shared experience with my loved ones will always be a happy place for me, so I feel blessed to be able to host an event, even if it is just virtually for now.

Dancer, DJ, choreographer and teacher Maribeth (Kilusan) Tabanera has turned to dancing outdoors in Winnipeg during the pandemic. She was featured in a recent Creator Network video in Manitoba. (Submitted by Maribeth (Kilusan) Tabanera)

Since going back to work in September as a teacher, I can honestly say this has been the my most challenging year.

Everything has changed, and continues to change every day. The instability and fear sometimes becomes overwhelming.

However, when I remember to be mindful and present, I become a witness to the innovative work my colleagues, students, families and community members are doing despite our circumstances.

It is truly inspiring and it gives me hope for the future.

I truly wish my community wellness and joy during these times. I can't wait to see all of your beautiful faces again.


Maribeth (Kilusan) Tabanera is a Winnipeg dancer, DJ and teacher.