Dancing stories of transformation in Matriarchs Uprising

Kahawi Dance Theatre’s Santee Smith. Photo: Ian R Maracle.

A celebration of contemporary dance by Indigenous women, Matriarchs Uprising offers a program of performances, events, and conversations. Works by Australia’s Mariaa Randall, Maura Garcia Dance from the United States, and Canada’s acclaimed Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, Jessica McMann and Cheyenne Rain LeGrande from the Prairies, are among the highlights of the three-day event (June 20-22).

See more below.

Cheyenne Rain LeGrande (Canada) + Mariaa Randall (Australia)—Mariaa Randall belongs to the Bundjalung and Yaegl people of New South Wales, and has choreographed with companies and artists including Jacob Boehme (Blood on the Dance Floor) and Ilbijerri Theatre Company. Nehiyaw Isko is a performance by Nehiyaw Isko emerging artist Cheyenne Rain LeGrande, in which she explores her body in relation to institutional space. (Thurs. June 20, 7 p.m. | 8EAST, 8 East Pender St.)

Mariaa Randall. Photo: Pippa Samaya.

Raven Spirit Dance (Canada) + Kaha:wi Dance Theatre (Canada)— Raven Spirit Dance’s Michelle Olson’s solo Frost Exploding Trees Moon follows a woman traveling her trap line. She finds a place to set up camp, builds her temporary home, and settles into the centre of her world of breath and perception. Kaha:wi Dance Theatre’s Blood, Water, Earth features performance, video and music/song as it channels “the ancestral, elemental and sacred.” According to the media release, “Blood Water Earth places a Konkwehon:we worldview in the vanguard and is inspired by the concepts emerging from Kaha:wi Dance Theatre’s triptych series on Re-Matriation: Re-Quickening, Blood Tides and Skennen.” (Fri. June 21, 8 p.m. | Scotiabank Dance Centre, 677 Davie St.)

Jessica McMann (Canada) + Maura Garcia Dance (USA)—In this excerpt of a full-length solo in development, Cree dance artist and musician Jessica McMann layers indigenous creation methods with two years of land-based research on Alberta’s Nose Hill and the Ghost River. McMann shares personal histories connected to land and displacement using soundscapes, visuals, and movement. Maura Garcia’s They Are Still Talking pays homage to our connection to our ancestors using dance, music and sculpture. (Sat. June 22, 8 p.m. | Scotiabank Dance Centre)

Maura Garcia. Photo: Kaytee Dalton.

In addition to the performances, the event features labs, conversations and masterclasses. Find out more here.

The Dance Centre’s Artist-in-Residence Olivia C. Davies is curating Matriarch’s Uprising, which coincides with National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21). “As we witness Indigenous people around the world rise up to confront colonial power structures, I am inspired by these women who use their artistry to hold space for past, present and future in artistic presentations,” says Davies, Artistic Director of O.Dela Arts.

Matriarchs Uprising: Indigenous Women Dancing Stories of Transformation

When: June 20-22

Where: Scotiabank Dance Centre, 677 Davie St, Vancouver and 8EAST, 8 East Pender St, Vancouver

Tickets: $30/$22 students & seniors/3-show pack $75 at ticketstonight.ca and 604.684.2787

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