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Venettes History
The Venettes Cultural Workshop was founded by Mary (Suarez) Baird in 1967. Mrs. Baird grew up in Spanish Harlem and the Bronx. She was always theatrically inclined and decided to pursue dance at the age on 9. Mrs. Baird received a 4-year French scholarship at City University and pursued her dance career at the same time.
She excelled in dance and later became the founder of the African-Brazilian duo-"Bibeau and Suarez". Mrs. Baird was a professional dancer for seven years. She studied under the Graham and Dunham techniques as well as famed African instructors.
Founder of the Venettes Cultural Workshop in 1967
Mrs. Mary (Suarez) Baird
Mrs. Baird moved to Long Island and realized that with in her community there was a lack of activities geared toward youth. She decided that she would use dance as her tool to inspire youth to achieve their best. With thirteen students. she began to teach dance classes in her home. The word began to spread and before long, Mrs. Baird needed to find a place to rehearse.
Our Lady of Miraculous Medal opened their doors to Mrs. Baird in 1968 under the leadership of Fr. Hull. Mrs. Baird held dance classes on Saturday mornings for the students. She not only taught the students dance techniques, she related dance to the everyday world. Mrs. Baird took ill in October of 1992. She asked her daughter, Vanessa, if she would continue the Venettes, and Vanessa obliged.
Vanessa Baird-Streeter has been directing the workshop since 1992. She has continued to follow in her mother's footsteps. The Venettes now consists of : Dance Division, Charm Division, Voice Division, and Drum Division. The Venettes has classes at both the Town Hall Annex and the Parish Hall. The Venettes continue to perform and travel throughout the United States.
Vanessa has tried to expand the scope the Venettes to include: more academic scholarships, scholarships for additional dance training of students and teachers, college counseling services, career development, leadership awareness, cultural awareness.
Vanessa envisions the Venettes continuing to grow. She would like to expand programs and hopefully obtain a building for the Venettes. The Venettes Cultural Workshop continues to grow because we all work together: parents, teachers, staff, alumni and friends.
To accomplish all of this, the assistance of the staff of the Venettes Cultural Workshop is very critical. They are all dedicated to the students and give up numerous hours of their lives to assist students in many ways.
Remember we must embody the African Ideology: It Takes A Village To Raise A Child. We, at the Venettes pledge:
to Inspire...to Support...to Achieve...

Venettes History

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We must embody the African Ideology: It Takes A Village To Raise A Child, and Venettes has been helping do so for decades.