Passionate about Latvian folk dance, Selga began dancing at the age of 3, and has been directing the youth dance group Daugaviņa for more than 25 years. She has served in various capacities on the Folk Dance committee of the Song and Dance Festivals in Canada since 1996. She particularly enjoys teaching dance and inspiring youth to love both Latvian folk dance and Latvian culture. She is honoured and thrilled to serve as one of the Directors for the Dance Spectacular at both the 2018 and 2023 Song and Dance Festival in Riga, Latvia. Selga works at the Weston Family Foundation. When not immersed in dance or work, you can find her walking, paddling or skiing.
George Juris Kenins has been an active musician, (cellist, conductor and composer), and teacher and lecturer among Canadians and North American Latvians. For the past three Latvian Song Festivals in Canada, he has been chair of the music committee, and currently is chair of the Latvian Song Festival Association in Canada. For the XV Latvian Festival of Song and Dance in Canada he is chair of the organizing committee. The Latvian State Choir recently premiered his song “Es gribētu!” (I wish) and subsequently commissioned a new sacred work. “Missa Brevis Latviensis” was premiered in August, 2017, recorded by Latvian Radio, and will be performed at the Toronto festival’s Concert of Sacred Music by the State Choir. He is vice president of the Latvian National Federation in Canada and its chair of culture, board member of the World Federation of Free Latvians (PBLA), and is chair of the PBLA Cultural Foundation.
Born and raised in Toronto, Tija has been involved in the local Latvian community her whole life. She is a graduate of the Toronto Latvian primary school “Valodiņa” and the local Latvian high school as well. She has danced in local folk dance groups “Diždancītis”, “Mēnestiņš”, and “Daugaviņa”, as well as being administrator of the folk dance group “Daugaviņa” for ten years. Tija was Youth Advisor on the Organizing Committee of the 2019 Song Festival in Toronto, and also served as a member of the Dance Committee and Chair of the New Choreographies Committee. For the 2024 Festival, she has taken on the roles of Vice-Chair of the Organizing Committee and head of the Dance Committee. In her everyday life, Tija works as Program Manager for The Second City Training Centres. In her free time Tija cheers for the Toronto Raptors and Blue Jays, volunteers at the Etobicoke Humane Society, binge-watches TV and drinks a lot of tea.
Andra always loved taking part on Latvian culture, especially folk dancing, since her first song and dance festival at the age of 6. Andra has loved taking the stage with groups like Toronto Daugaviņa and Hamiltonas Vainadzinš- even receiving the top prize for the 2019 Toronto viewer’s choice award for her co-choreography “Svētku Sēta”. Andra is excited to take the reigns as Social Media coordinator, showcasing all the that Toronto has to offer, as well as showcasing all the groups that are excited to participate in the 2024 festival. Andra currently resides in Toronto with her husband and little dog Rosie.
Since childhood, Arnis has participated in Latvian folk dancing and later as an actor in the Latvian DV theater. He took a leading role in organizing the musical “Esslingena” shows in Riga – at the National Theater. Arnis participates in several Latvian charity organizations on their board of directors, and is the chairman of the Latvian Relief Society of Canada, Toronto branch. Noted as a pretty good pīrāgu baker.
Kaspars Reinis is the head of the Music Committee for the festival. He is a lifelong choir singer with a Latvian predisposition. Kaspars currently resides in Ottawa, where he actively participates in the Latvian community by organising events and teaching at the Latvian school. On his free days he can often be found wandering around in “Tērvete” forests and foraging for mushrooms.
Since relocating to Canada in 2009, Mareks has been an active member of the Toronto Latvian community. As a dancer, he participated in groups such as Diždancis and Dižais Dancis. For many years he took on the role of troupe leader for the children’s dance group Mēnestiņš. He was an active member of the planning committee for the 2014 Hamilton song and dance festival, and took on the responsibility of ticket sales in 2019.
In his spare time Mareks like to travel, travel, travel, ski, and travel some more.