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Luminato Lights Up Toronto

1 Dundas St. E., at Yonge and Dundas streets, across from the Toronto Eaton Centre. All events here are free; call 416-368-3100 for more information.

ALL THAT JAZZ June 6. You’ll be blown away at Luminato First Night with performances by 14-year-old Canadian singer Nikki Yanofsky and the Grammy Award–winning Count Basie Orchestra, known for its “Kansas City swing style.” 9 p.m.

STEP BY STEP June 6 to 11. Telus Light on Your Feet takes over the square with spins, lifts and dips. This dance party—complete with live music—features free lessons in a variety of styles like swing, Latin and Bollywood. Famed Canadian fiddler Ashley MacIsaac accompanies a public square dance on June 7. June 6 at 6:30 p.m. June 7 to 11 at 7 p.m.

CELTIC RHYTHM June 7. Expect a good time as opening festivities continue with the Scottish Music Festival. The day begins with Winnipeg-born violinist Sierra Noble, who presents her distinct Métis- and Celtic-influenced sound. Scottish trio Lau and Cape Breton’s The Barra MacNeils—who recently celebrated 20 years of recording—get the crowd tapping their toes the rest of the evening. 1 p.m.

IN THE GROOVE June 7. Nathan Phillips Square (100 Queen St. W., at Bay Street) boogies during On the One: the Luminato Funk Festival. Learn the moves from top hip hop and funk dancers, including award–winning choreographer Luther Brown. The day also features performances by James Brown’s Soul Generals—the Godfather of Soul’s renowned backing band, and Morris Day and The Time, famous for their collaboration with Prince. 1 p.m., free; call 416-368-3100 for details.

MASTERS OF MOVEMENT June 14. Toronto dance and opera critic Michael Crabb moderates The Dance of Life/The Life of Dance, a conversation with some of the dance world’s most elite figures. The discussion is part of Luminato’s Illuminations series, which seeks to inform through lectures, panels, public workshops and open houses. Karen Kain, former prima ballerina and the current artistic director of the National Ballet of Canada, Jean Grand-Maître, artistic director of the Alberta Ballet, and Peggy Baker, founding member of Dancemakers, are among the panel of speakers. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W., 11:30 a.m., free; call 416-368-3100 for more information.

125 Bathurst St., at Bathurst Street and Adelaide Street West, 416-504-4473.

MEANINGFUL THEATRE June 8. George Ryga’s landmark play, The Ecstasy of Rita Joe, which is considered to be this country’s best known English-language play, explores the aspirations and tragedies of a young Aboriginal woman. Noted as one of the first Canadian plays to explore issues facing Native peoples, Ryga’s drama celebrated its 40 anniversary last year. 2 p.m., $25; call 416-870-8000 for tickets.

CULTURAL BACKGROUND June 8. Acclaimed writers participate in Aboriginal Encounters, an interactive discussion about justice, identity and Aboriginal rights. Moderated by journalist Paul Seesequasis, authors Joseph Boyden and Tomson Highway, actor/writer Sandra Laronde and actor/playwright Kevin Loring share their experiences and offer their opinions. 5 p.m. free; call 416-368-3100 for details.

750 Spadina Ave., at Spadina Avenue and Bloor Street West, 416-924-6211.

PREMIERE NIGHT June 8. Celebrate the evolution of the comic book at the Political Graphic Novel. Encompassing topics that range from famous people to world events, the graphic novel can be said to function as a contemporary history book. This event launches Che: A Graphic Biography by renowned cartoonist Spain Rodriguez. 7 p.m., $10; call 416-870-8000 to purchase tickets.

SINGING PRAISES June 9. The life and works of a Nobel Prize–winning author are commemorated in the Celebration of Isaac Bashevis Singer. Known for his focus on themes like immigration and religion, and his vivid characterizations in such books as The Family Moskat and The Spinoza of Market St., fellow writers David Bezmogis and Dara Horn honour the storyteller on this occasion. 3 p.m., $10; call 416-870-8000 to purchase tickets.

INTERNATIONAL DIALOGUE June 14. Renowned Toronto-based author Shyam Selvadurai hosts Spotlight on New South Asian Writing. The evening consists of readings and personal insights from British poet Daljit Nagra and Canadian authors Jaspreet Singh (Chef) and Padma Viswanathan (The Toss of a Lemon). 7 p.m., $10; call 416-870-8000 to purchase tickets.

161-181 Bay St., at Bay Street and Wellington Street West, 416-797-6480.

URBAN ART June 6 to 15. In Streetscape, talented multimedia artists transform urban spaces into canvases bursting with colour. One location is Sam Pollock Square at Brookfield Place, where pedestrians can enjoy artistic expressions amidst the flurry of activity in the city’s Financial District. Free. Open 24 hours daily.

FEMALE PROFILES June 9 to 15. The Allen Lambert Galleria exhibits Toronto’s Mille Femmes, a part of Pierre Maraval’s series “Portraits 1000.” The French artist and photographer started this series in 1993, basing each work on 1,000 portraits of individuals sharing a common characteristic. In Toronto, he puts the spotlight on women who have contributed to the city’s cultural scene. Free.

55 Mill St., at Cherry and Parliament streets, call 416-364-1177.

LIFE BEHIND THE LENS June 6 & 7, 9 & 10, 12 to 15. The students of the prestigious Soulpepper Academy debut their collective creation BLiNK at the Tank House Theatre in the Young Centre for the Performing Arts. The play is inspired by the experiences of photojournalists who document the horrors of international wars and their personal conflicts. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, $25; call 416-866-8666 for times and tickets.

STREET PARTY June 13 to 15. The quaint cobblestone walkways of this pedestrian-only hub brim with artistic fervor during Luminato at the Distillery. Dancers and musicians provide entertainment throughout the historic area. See the work of up-and-coming Toronto artists which are exhibited throughout. June 13: 6-11 p.m., June 14: 11 a.m.-11 p.m., June 15: 11 a.m.-6 p.m., free; call 416-368-3100 for more details.

IN CONCERT June 13 to 15. The OLG Music Stage at the Distillery hosts some of the city’s top musicians for incredible live performances. Start the weekend with R&B sensation Divine Brown, famous for her hit song “Old Skool Love.” On Saturday, delight in the classical yet fun sound of Quartetto Gelato. Sunday brings the Alex*Cuba All-Stars to the stage, fronted by 2008 Juno Award–winning singer Alex Cuba. June 13 and 14: 8 p.m., June 15: 4 p.m., free; call 416-368-3100 for information about this event.

—Tessie Sanci

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