Dancers of Damelahamid will once again host the Coastal Dance Festival, honouring Indigenous stories, song, and dance from the Northwest Coast, Canada and around the world.
Our programming provides a platform for cultural sharing to deepen our understanding of our Festival artists’ histories and sources of inspiration in celebration of the ongoing cultural revitalization and resiliency of so many communities around the world. – Margaret Grenier
“We are thrilled to welcome Indigenous artists from the Northwest Coast, across Canada, the U.S., Australia and New Zealand to share their artistic practices and cultural knowledge,” says executive and artistic director Margaret Grenier in a media release. “Our programming provides a platform for cultural sharing to deepen our understanding of our Festival artists’ histories and sources of inspiration in celebration of the ongoing cultural revitalization and resiliency of so many communities around the world.”
This year’s Festival will also include a cultural exchange with New Zealand, featuring the Festival debut of New Zealand Indigenous performing artist Rosie Te Rauawhea Belvie. Dancers of Damelahamid will then travel to New Zealand to share their cultural knowledge at the biannual Indigenous performance festival, Kia Mau, in June 2023.
“We are honoured for the opportunity to receive this ancestral knowledge from artists close to home and globally, and, in turn, to share our own traditions with the people of New Zealand later this year,” adds Grenier.
In addition to the debut of Rosie Te Rauawhea Belvie, the Festival’s Signature Evening Series will feature an exclusive excerpt by Dancers of Damelahamid from their next full-length work Raven Mother, set to premiere in 2024. This excerpt follows a recent dance residency at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in December 2022 to further develop this work.
The Festival’s Signature Evening Series will include performances from the Inuit group Paunnakuluit, Australia’s intergenerational Wagana Aboriginal Dancers, and Alberta-based Cree multidisciplinary artist and classically trained flutist Jessica McMann.
In addition, Squamish-based Spakwus Slolem will share their canoe and cedar longhouse culture, Yisya̱’winux̱w will represent many of the 16 tribes of the Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw people on Northern Vancouver Island, and Rainbow Creek Dancers will celebrate traditional Haida ceremonial dances.
Along with several performances from Festival Signature Series artists, the by-donation Festival Stage Series will include the debut of Saskatchewan’s award-winning Métis fiddler Adam Daigneault and the return of numerous Festival favourites.
This year’s Festival also sees the return of its Artist Sharing Series with discussions on the connection of dance to ancestral lands and the connection of dance to ancestral language.
The 2023 Coastal Dance Festival takes place March 2-5 at the Anvil Centre (777 Columbia St, New Westminster). Visit damelahamid.ca for tickets and information.