Kahawi Dance Theatre's Santee Smith performs in Blood, Water, Earth as part of Matriarchs Uprising. Photo by Ian R Maracle.
Kahawi Dance Theatre's Santee Smith performs in Blood, Water, Earth as part of Matriarchs Uprising. Photo by Ian R Maracle.

Coinciding with National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 22, the Dance Centre’s artist-in-residence Olivia C. Davies has curated three days of dance performances, events, and circle conversations as part of Matriarchs Uprising.

Matriarchs Uprising brings together Indigenous women who are nurturing the art of contemporary dance so that it may be appreciated by audiences from all backgrounds,” says Davies in a media release.

Along with labs, studio showings, and masterclasses, Matriarchs Uprising will feature three public performances.

First up is a double-bill on June 20 at 8EAST in East Vancouver which pairs Mariaa Randall from Australia and Cheyenne Rain LeGrande from Canada.

A member of the Bundjalung and Yaegl people of New South Wales in Australia, Randall will present Painting the Dance, in which she creates a world that reflects her, that she can be seen in, and in a place where her image is controlled by her. A Nehiyaw Isko emerging artist, LeGrande will present Nehiyaw Isko, in which she explores her body in relation to institutional space.

On June 21 at the Scotiabank Dance Centre, Vancouver’s Raven Spirit Dance performs with Kaha:wi Dance Theatre from Toronto.

In a solo choreographed and performed Spirit Dance’s Michelle Olson, Frost Exploding Trees Moon follows the physical and spiritual journey of a woman traveling her trap line. From Kaha:wi Dance Theatre comes Blood, Water, Earth, which weaves performance, video, and music/song as its imagery explores what is woman, from warrior, creator, sustainer of life, and huntress.

Closing out the public performances is a third pairing on June 22 at the Scotiabank Dance Centre, featuring Cree dance artist and musician Jessica McMann, and Maura Garcia Dance from the United States.

McMann will perform an excerpt from her full-length solo currently in development, iihksiisiinatsiistostiimao nipaitapiitsiin, which layers indigenous creation methods with two years of land-based research on Alberta’s Nose Hill and the Ghost River, and shares personal histories connected to land and displacement. Maura Garcia’s They Are Still Talking pays homage to our connection to our ancestors through air, gesture, inter-generational trauma and laughter.

The performances will be followed by artist talks designed to provide deeper insight into each piece.

“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.

Matriarchs Uprising – Indigenous Women Dancing Stories of Transformation runs June 20-22. Visit thedancecentre.ca for tickets and information.