Dandelions in the Wind

"A reminder that we can never be complacent"    

-    Stouffville Free Press  

THE TRAILER

Dandelions in the Wind is the musical love story of an interracial  couple caught up in the turbulent times of America’s Civil Rights era.  The play's inspiration came from the racism that the playwright and her late husband experienced in the sixties and seventies.  The message however is not limited to black-white racism. It is for all people separated by the rift of ignorance, hatred and bigotry. 

BEHIND THE SCENES 

The making of the musical

CHECK OUT THE MUSIC  

These song samples were recorded live from the stage during the 2017 Canadian premiere. 

Photo credit: Seanna Kennedy 

A word from the Playwright - Jennifer Dance Bowen

"DANDELIONS  IN THE WIND is my life's work. It encompasses so much of the emotion that I experienced during the sixties and seventies as a young white woman married to a young black man. Keith was attacked by Skinheads in  the UK, left on the pavement with a severely fractured skull. He made  what we thought was a full recovery and we moved to Canada looking for a  safe place to raise our mixed-race children, but shortly after our arrival he died... shockingly... unexpectedly... a complication from the earlier head injury. I was five months pregnant with our third child. 

"More than three decades have not faded the image that was seared onto my soul the day of the funeral: our three-year-old clutching dandelions she had picked for her daddy, the October sun transforming the lowly weeds into filigree globes of silver, and her curls into a halo of gold.  The funeral had taught her that flowers mean 'I love you', but  she was perplexed as to how to give them to her father. I blew some of  the parachutes heavenwards. She watched them float back to earth, her  bottom  lip trembling. And then she said, 'If I think really hard, can I think the flowers to daddy?'' "        -    Jennifer Dance  

DANDELIONS IN THE WIND brings the history of racism and civil rights into a modern format. Music varies from spoken word to slave chants, and from gospel songs to toe-tapping dance  numbers. Images from the Civil Rights era create a changing backdrop for the events unfolding on stage, but the underlying question is “Where  are we now...today?"   






Image: Keith and Jennifer, 1971

About us

KJ GROUP is a Theatre Arts group whose mission is to create knowledge, understanding and compassion on issues that relate to justice and equality in today's world. Our mandate is to use excellent entertainment to both educate and touch hearts, creating positive change by inspiring individuals to simply do better. Our vision bridges the rift between ethnicity, culture and faith, breaks racial stereotypes and promotes healing and equality. KJ Group has a heart for youth, as both performers and audience. Young people will change the world. 


DANDELIONS  in the WIND premiered in Toronto during Black History month of 2017.  Funds are now being organized and plans consolidated to move the show  forward in 2019-2020. Although the show is for all ages from 10 to 100,  our focus is on youth. We are particularly interested in having  educators move alongside us. If you would like to be part of this  amazing journey please contact us at jenniferdance.author@hotmail.com

 dandelionsinthewindtoronto@gmail.com   

Jennifer Dance - Playwright

 

Jennifer  Dance is an award-winning author of books for young people.  She frequently speaks at schools where students are reading her books, inspiring  the new generation to stand up for justice and equality,  and fight to make  the world a better place. With Dandelions in the Wind she returns to her  roots of black-white racism, digging deep through the pain of her past  to create the characters of Sarah and Ben.

Canada  Council for the Arts has recognized Jennifer's creative writing ability by awarding her a prestigious grant to work on her latest novel for  young people: an Alzheimer's story.

Jennifer  was nominated as a Woman of Excellence in the J.S. Woodsworth Awards  for Human Rights and Equity, and is honoured to have received the 2016  Senior Achievement Award from the Government of Ontario. 

Kesha Wint - Director

 

Kesha Wint is the founder and president of QW Productions whose mission is to  provide outstanding and professional entertainment in a classy and  nostalgic atmosphere, while providing a platform for artists and  musicians to showcase their musical gifts. She aims to educate both the  public and upcoming artists on the importance of “real” music and why it  needs to be kept alive.


Kesha  is a graduate from the  jazz program at Humber College, and has  performed with well-known musicians  in many parts of Asia, Europe,  North America, and the Caribbean. Currently living in the GTA, she is  well established in the tight-knit music industry. She is a phenomenal  and expressive vocalist who also inspires others to live out their  dreams.



 

REVIEWS

 PRESS REVIEW

Using potent, sometimes brutal images from the era as a backdrop to the story unfolding onstage, Dandelions in the Wind  offers an honest and at times heartbreaking assessment of how far we  still have to go before true equality is achieved. Given the dignity and  peaceful demeanour of the Alabama bus boycott protesters, the violent  response of their oppressors is doubly shocking and the play forcefully  reminds you of the dangers of complacency in a world that is, once  again, becoming increasingly hostile to immigrants and minorities.
         With a score that ranges from slave chants to gospel songs, the show  also has its moments of humour and empathy, including the  beautifully-drawn bond between two fast friends, one black and one  white, who refuse to be cowed by the ignorance and hatred of their racist neighbours. It was a fitting addition to Black History Month  events and a reminder that we can never afford to be complacent                                                 

 - Kate Gilderdale, Stouffville Free Press  

TEACHER REVIEWS

The feedback from students was  overwhelming, they absolutely loved the  play! They particularly enjoyed  the aspect of connecting history with  the current events of today's political climate, highlighting how  discrimination is still evident. They enjoyed the rich history of the  Civil Rights Movement, and putting  context to civil rights activists  such as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King. Students expressed that  they were able to empathize more to the Civil rights activists  as opposed to just learning about them via a traditional classroom  setting. Students were moved by the fight and pain derived from a 'true  life' story, particularly Jennifer's story, and felt  a sense of  empowerment via the collective stance.
-  Natalie Lapko, Teacher: Victoria Park Collegiate Institute, Teacher, Toronto District School Board


A  fantastic learning experience for my students and myself … the students  were touched by the play and many were moved emotionally to tears. As  an educator I liked the fact that the  message was blunt, in your face  and it was undeniable. And to know that this was in part Jennifer  Dance's life story ... it took away the opportunity for people to say  that it's just a story and that it wouldn't happen in real life. The  message is an important one for students to see and experience
- Careen Thompson, Teacher, Emery Collegiate Institute, Toronto District School Board. 


I  brought my grade 7 classes to see the  show. It truly helped them  understand some of the social challenges that have been part of the  black experience. We had so much rich discussion on issues of social  justice - racism, prejudice, segregation .... and  what to do about it -  advocate, protest, educate, accept. Amazing  experience!
- Brandy Henry, Teacher, Thomas L Wells PS, Scarborough, Toronto District School Board 



 STUDENT REVIEWS

"I  really enjoyed the play. I also learned a lot of history.  Now I will  strive to make the world a better place any way I can. I will try to  help more people because the play made me realize something, something  important about people and how we should treat  them. With love!"  


"Dandelions  in the Wind was breathtaking and I was deeply touched, in fact certain  parts had tears  welling in my eyes.   My mind is just boggled."


"The  play was immensely thought-provoking and meaningful. It  gave me a  completely different perspective. There were scary moments, enlightening  scenes, deep sayings, and encouraging moments. I was educated in an  unusual way. "  


"It was a wonderful experience that I will never forget … an  emotional  roller-coaster with a heartfelt message. I learned that  everyone is  equal and different, but to embrace who they are and not be afraid." 


"We talked about social issues in class, then we saw this  play, and now I  understand more ... Judging people is not right because  everyone is a  human and should have equal rights, everyone should have a  voice.  Watching this play improves people by changing the way they  think about  others." 


"It really made me think about how bad racism is … makes me want to make a difference… made me emotional." 


"It really made me think about how bad racism is … makes me want to make a difference … made me emotional." 


"It was like I was really there!"


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Sign up with to receive updates and promotions. DANDELIONS in the WIND premiered in Toronto during Black History month of 2017. Funds are now being organized and plans consolidated to move the show forward in 2019-2020. Although the show is for all ages from 10 to 100, our focus is on youth. We are particularly interested in having educators move alongside us. If you would like to be part of this amazing journey please contact us at jenniferdance.author@hotmail.com or dandelionsinthewindtoronto@gmail.com