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The Creator’s Game by Kaha:wi Dance Theatre

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From the minute Santee Smith told us of her idea for a dance work based on the game of lacrosse, we knew we had to bring it to Peterborough. We being Public Energy and O’Kaadenigan Wiingashk, co-producers of the Ode’min Giizis Festival under the direction of Patti Shaughnessy. Patti it turned out has a soft spot for lacrosse, or as the Iroquois knew it “The Creator’s Game”, and she of course knew the right folks in the tight world of Peterborough lax who could help us secure a spot as the opening act to a real Peterborough Lakers senior lacrosse game. The idea was to take a work of contemporary dance right into the belly of the beast: performing for the 3,000+ fans that come out every week in the summer to see Canada’s ‘official summer game’ played by Canada’s Mann Cup (that’s the Stanley Cup of lacrosse) champions. How cool would that be.

Luckily the lacrosse season overlapped with the 2011 Ode’min Giizis Festival. This meant we could present an outdoor field version of The Creator’s Game on one day and the indoor version on the Lakers’ special carpeted floor the next. My personal favourite was the indoor version seen in the video here. The fans at Peterborough’s Memorial Centre were very appreciative of the 10-minute excerpt we presented just prior to the game between the Lakers and the…wait for it…Brooklin Redmen. Don’t ask. The dancers were a convincing mix of young lacrosse players and professional dancers and the appreciative reception left us with the feeling that we’d converted some of the unwashed masses into appreciating the finer points of contemporary dance. Well…we were satisfied knowing that some of the fans got the message that the sport grew from a traditional First Nations game that has been around since time immemorial.

  • Bill Kimball

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