Unique Aboriginal dance program to tour across Canada April 23 to May 8
Four dance artists creating new work from contemporary and traditional sources, and a dancefilm by a new media artist, will tour to Regina, Lethbridge, Peterborough and Montreal.
INDIGENOUS DANCELANDS is a touring initiative of the CanDance Network of Dance Presenters , whereby three presenters – Peterborough New Dance, New Dance Horizons of Regina and Tangente of Montreal – have chosen choreographers from their region for presentation on one program that will tour to all three cities, plus one additional city – Lethbridge. Peterborough New Dance selected Santee Smith from Six Nations, Tangente chose Gaetan Gingras of Montreal, and New Dance Horizons selected two pieces: a collaboration between Byron Chief-Moon and Karen Jamieson of Vancouver, and a new media work by Anthony Deiter of Regina.
An essay looking at contemporary Aboriginal dance is being specially written for the tour program by Marrie Mumford, former head of Aboriginal Arts at the Banff Centre, and currently Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Arts at Trent University.
The program will tour four cities from April 23 to May 8, 2005. In addition to performing in each city, the artists will conduct classes and workshops for local Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal audiences. The touring schedule is as follows:
· April 23 in Regina, presented by New Dance Horizons. (306) 525-5393
· April 26 in Lethbridge presented by Now Showing Live Arts. (403) 329-2792
· April 30, May 1 in Peterborough, presented by Peterborough New Dance. (705) 745-1788
· May 5-8 in Montreal, presented by Tangente. (514) 525-5584
In each city local Aboriginal organizations are collaborating with presenters to bring Aboriginal audiences in contact with the touring artists. These include Trent University’s Native Studies Department in Peterborough, the Sakewewak Artists Collective in Regina, the Dept. of Native American Studies at the University of Lethbridge and Terre en Vue in Montreal.
Indigenous Dancelands is a Touring Exchange Project of the CanDance Network of Dance Presenters,
supported by The Canada Council for the Arts and the Department of Canadian Heritage.
SANTEE SMITH: KAHA:WI
Santee Smith will present a duet with dancer Tatiana Ramos drawn from her full-length work Kaha:wi. The choreography and design of Kaha:wi explores fundamental philosophies of Iroquoian culture such as the honouring of the continuous cycle of Life. “As a Haudenosaunee person I believe that song and dance were gifts given to us by the Creator, to celebrate our lives on Mother Earth. It is what we do, it is what we know, since first we heard out mother’s heartbeat and her muffled voice, and moved along with the sway of her hips. As an artist I am interested in experimenting and developing contemporary dance that draws inspiration from both innovative contemporary and aboriginal dance forms and movement aesthetics.” – Santee Smith
Santee Smith – choreographer, dancer
Santee Smith is a member of the Mohawk Nation, Turtle Clan from Six Nations, Ontario. As a multi-disciplinary artist, she is committed to sharing traditional and contemporary stories of her indigenous culture. Santee attended the National Ballet School of Canada from 1982-1988. In 1996 Santee choreographed SkyWoman and Three Sisters for the National Film Board documentary The Gift. Santee was an integral part of the Aboriginal Dance Project at the Banff Centre for the Arts from 1997-2001. She was a featured artist at the Canadian Heritage National Gathering’s Dream Weavers in Ottawa 2002 and Destinations in Whistler B.C. 2003. Santee was a featured dancer and choreographer for the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards, 10th Anniversary, 2003. Santee Smith is a recent MA Dance graduate from York University. She is actively involved in aboriginal contemporary dance in Canada and the United States, having performed and presented her work at the Aboriginal Dance Symposiums in Nova Scotia and Manitoba and at the Red Rhythms Conference at the University of California – Riverside. Santee presented the premiere production of Kaha:wi in June, 2004 at Harbourfront Centre, Toronto. Recently, she performed in Agua at the Planet IndigenUS festival at Harbourfront Centre. Santee is gearing up for her Yoh ha hee yoh International Tour 2005 with performances in Canada and the US, featuring Kaha:wi and her new work Here On Earth.
Tatiana Ramos – dancer
Tatiana was born in Porto Alegre, Brazil. She started her dance career at the age of 16, taking ballet and jazz classes. In 1987 she joined Ballet Phoenix, a professional contemporary dance company in her home town. There she performed over 30 works and became the assistant director. She moved to Toronto in 1997, where she worked with the Newton Moraes Dance Theatre and studied at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre. Upon graduating she moved to Germany to perform with The Desperate Figures Dance Theatre, a dance theatre based in Mainz. Back in Toronto she has rejoined the Newton Moraes Dance Theatre as a dancer and assistant director. She also teaches dance for children, which she finds as rewarding as being on stage.
BYRON CHIEF-MOON AND KAREN JAMIESON: ELMER AND COYOTE
Elmer and Coyote, a duet co-choreographed and danced by Byron Chief-Moon and Karen Jamieson, is an eloquent union of storytelling and contemporary music, modern and traditional dance. Beginning from an ancient Blackfoot creation story, the work addresses the loss of ritual, sleeping people, and spirit guides in this present time. Elmer and Coyote is the latest development in a history of collaboration between Byron and Karen that goes back 17 years and includes the creation of numerous major works.
Byron Chief-Moon – co-choreographer, dancer
Byron is a member of the Blackfoot Confederacy, member of the Blood Band. He founded the Coyote Arts Percussive Performance Association/CAPPA in 1999, and uses this unique dance company to explore and create distinctive dance, incorporating traditional storytelling, infusing traditional Plains Indian style music with contemporary music techniques, and initiating new media into the performances. The themes of his dance creations begin with his traditional stories, told to him by his grandparents, exploring ‘rites of passage’, ‘sleeping people’, ‘loss of rituals’, ‘new myth’, and ‘mother earth’.
Karen Jamieson – co-choreographer, dancer
After receiving a BA in philosophy and anthropology from the University of British Columbia, Karen Jamieson began her major dance training in New York City, studying modern techniques of Nikolais, Cunningham and Graham and ballet with Alfredo Corvino and Maggie Black. She performed with Yvonne Rainer and Phyllus Lamhut and was a member of the Alwin Nikolais Company. A true Canadian dance veteran, Karen co-founded the vanguard movement collective Terminal City Dance in Vancouver. She established the Karen Jamieson Dance Company in 1983 as a vehicle for the creation and production of works exploring dance as a poetic language, engaging in cross-cultural dialogue with First Nations artists, addressing the spirit of place and creating dance within communities. The company has toured nationally and internationally, most recently to the XX Festival in Zagreb in 2003. A recipient of the Chalmers award for choreography, her work Sisyphus was recognized in Canada’s Dance Collection Danse magazine as one of the Top Ten Canadian Choreographic Masterworks of the 20th Century. Current projects include a performance collaboration with the Haida community of Skidegate. For the past 17 years Karen has been working with Byron Chief-Moon, who has been a collaborator in the creation of major works including; Le Bateau, Man Within, Gawa Gyani, and Raven of the Moon. This project is a new development in this creative relationship.
GAÉTAN GINGRAS: MANITOWAPAN
Featuring dancer Sophie Lavigne and storyteller Bob Bourdon, Gaeton Gingras’ Manitowapan is an urgent search for modern ways of inviting the spiritual into the everyday, for finding grace that turns into reverence towards the world, informs this work. “Deep recognition of the spiritual world in our daily worlds has, in itself, a great potential for healing our increasingly materialistic ways of living. For Aboriginal peoples of the past this recognition developed into profound ways of living a daily life. Storytelling and dancing were more than simple expressions of Aboriginal peoples’ beliefs; they were powerful rituals, capable of repairing broken bridges between the visible and invisible.” – Gaetan Gingras
Gaétan Gingras – choreographer
Gaétan Gingras, an Iroqouis-Mohawk, was initiated into various dance techniques during his college years in his hometown of Drummondville, Québec. He continued his studies at Concordia University in Montreal and at the Toronto Dance Theatre. Gaétan quickly became known for his strong interpretation skills and athletic presence, recognized and appreciated by such choreographers as Robert Desrosiers, Ginette Laurin (O Vertigo Danse) and Gilles Maheu (Carbone 14), with whom Gaétan worked on many acclaimed productions. In 1993 Gaétan was a soloist in In the Land of the Spirit, produced by John Kim Bell, which toured across Canada. This project initiated Gaétan’s search for his own Aboriginal roots influencing his development as a creator. He presented his own choreography for the first time at the Toronto Fringe Dance Festival in 1993. The following year he presented Sentier Inconnu at Tangente for the Ascendance series in Montreal. Invited since then regularly by Tangente, and various festivals and venues, Gaétan has created a dozen works. In 1998, the Clifford E. Lee Foundation recognized Gaétan’s outstanding creations and contributions to the culture of Aboriginal people. Part of his winning prize was an artistic residency at the Aboriginal Program of The Banff Center for the Arts.
Robert Bourdon-Seven Crows – storyteller
Robert Bourdon-Seven Crows is a son of a Mic-Mac mother and Metis father from Mississippi. His Aboriginal name is Seven Crows. Faithful to his First Nations roots, he shares stories, songs and legends of his ancestors. Rattles and drums in hand, this dancing storyteller invites the audience into the world of traditional works, where the magic world of animals, mountains and rivers is the source of liberty. Proud of his ancestral heritage, Robert continues to bring the teachings and values of his people wherever he goes.
Sophie Lavigne – dancer
Sophie Lavigne (algonkienne) studied dance at the University of Quebec in Montreal, where she received diplomas in dance teaching and dance interpretation, and was awarded a William Douglas Prize at the end of her studies. Since 1996, Sophie has worked with numerous choreographers, including Gaétan Gingras (Osheron and Burning Silence) Ginette Prévost (Le Nef des 7 and La Luna) and Motaz Kabbani (Le Sacre de Levant). Sophie has been working for Sinha Dance since 1999, as well as la Compagnie de Brune of Lynda Gaudreau since 2002.
ANTHONY DEITER: SHOW-DOWN
Showdown – An event(s), especially a confrontation, that forces an issue to a conclusion. Combining animation, film, photography, dance and music, Show-Down is a new media presentation that examines how entertainment and media forces many complex issues and stimulus on modern societies. Destination: overload.
Anthony Deiter – new media artist
Anthony Deiter is an aboriginal contemporary storyteller, employing 3-D digital animation and other computer technologies to communicate the story of North America’s Aboriginal people through references to his own history. As an Aboriginal teacher, designer and artist working with visual and web site software, one of his personal mandates is to close the digital divide in First Nations communities. Deiter works frequently in both Canada and the US. He was an Experimental Web Site Designer at the University of South Dakota, as well as an Associate Professor of Digital Multimedia for Indian Communication Arts at First Nations University of Canada in Regina. As an artist, Deiter’s work has been shown in numerous galleries and museums throughout Canada and the US, including Mendel Art Gallery (Saskatoon), 2 Rivers Gallery (Minneapolis), Museum of the Red River (Idabel, Oklahoma), Institute of American Indian Arts Museum (Santa Fe) and National Museum of the American Indian (New York City). His film work been shown on PBS and is currently featured in Native Views: Influences of Modern Culture on Art Train USA, a traveling exhibit housed in vintage rail cars going on a national tour across the US until 2007.