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10th Annual Coastal First Nations Dance Festival Lineup Announced

Dancers of Damelahamid, in partnership with the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at UBC, announce the 10th annual Coastal First Nations Dance Festival, a celebration of Indigenous stories, song and dance from Canada and abroad, February 28 - March 5, 2017 at MOA's Great Hall.

In this landmark season, audiences will encounter traditional and contemporary Indigenous artistry through performances, enhanced educational offerings and youth programming, as well as monumental ceremonies to open and close the festival. Highlights include the Vancouver debut of all-women drum group Eastern Owl, the festival's first-ever Pacific Islander artist from Hawai'i, the anticipated return of Cree hoop dancing, and the world-premiere of Dancers of Damelahamid's newest work, Interweavings.

"We proudly mark 10 years of strengthening and preserving Indigenous culture and heritage with our largest and most diversified program to date," says Festival Executive & Artistic Director Margaret Grenier. "This anniversary truly recognizes 50 years of Indigenous dance revitalization made possible through the work of Dancers of Damelahamid. We strive to carry this legacy forward by continuing to play a vital role in the local arts community, building increasing awareness around First Nations' rich cultural history."

The roots of the Coastal First Nations Dance Festival can be traced to Ken and Margaret Harris, the founders of the Dancers of Damelahamid. In 1967, the Harris' began the Haw yah Hawni naw Festival in Prince Rupert to educate those wishing to regain their ancestral dance and art traditions following the 1951 lift of the Potlatch Ban. In 2008, Margaret Grenier and the Dancers of Damelahamid worked with the Harris' to revive the festival in Vancouver and engage a new generation of artists.

The 10th annual festival welcomes artists from BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, The Maritimes, Yukon, Alaska, Hawai'i and New Zealand. New and not-to-be-missed this year: a performance by Peter Espiritu, Founder and Artistic Director of Hawai'i's critically acclaimed contemporary Dance Company Tau Dance Theater; Sto:lo youth dance troupe, the Semoya Dancers from Chilliwack; Modern Métis jigging and square dance works from Vancouver's own Compaigni V'ni Dansi, and emerging Métis artist Marcus Meratsy; as well as the West Coast premiere of Eastern Owl, an all-female, seven-member drum group from St. John's, NL. Known for their folk-infused, inspirational songs, Easter Owl recently launched their first album, Not Quite Like You.

Other highlights include: traditional performance by Git Hayetsk and Git Hoan, Alaskan groups with a long-standing connection to Dancers of Damelahamid; a solo work merging contemporary dance and traditional Maori singing by New Zealand artist Charles Koroneho, Youth Workshop facilitator and long-time Dancers of Damelahamid collaborator; Haida troupe Rainbow Creek, led by renowned artist Robert Davidson; and the 50-member, multigenerational Coast Salish Tsatsu Stalquayu (Coastal Wolf Pack). Dancers of Damelahamid will also premiere their new work Interweavings. Evoking stirring imagery of canoes banding together and whales joining voices, Interweavings is a tribute to the festival's legacy of keeping generations tied and their traditions alive.

The festival takes place on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Musqueam people. The Dancers of Damelahamid proudly acknowledge their hosts.

The 2017 Coastal First Nations Dance Festival comprises five primary components:

Signature Evening Performances - Ticketed gala events featuring headline performances from Dancers of Damelahamid and special guest artists.

Festival Stage Performances - Showcase presentations from visiting performers. The Festival Stage Performances take place on weekend afternoons and are included with regular admission to MOA.

School Group Performances - Weekday sessions introducing K-12 students to the rich history and traditions of First Nations dance, performance, and storytelling.

Youth Workshops: Charles Koroneho (New Zealand artist) and Jessica McMann (Cree hoop dancer) will lead an expanded series of workshops, a unique opportunity for mentors and youth to connect in a responsive environment that strengthens intergenerational ties and facilitates traditional learning techniques.

Opening and Closing Ceremonies *NEW: On March 2, the 10th annual festival will open with a ceremony showcasing artists representing various regions and styles. The closing ceremony on March 5 will honour the work contributed by many artists and mentors over the past 10 years.

The 2017 Festival hosts a range of returning audience favourites, and first-time festival performers. For program details, visit:


Dancers of Damelahamid + MOA present the
10th annual Coastal First Nations Dance Festival
February 28 to March 5, 2017

Ticket Prices:

School Group Performances (Feb 28, Mar. 1 + 2):
Included with MOA admission (pre-booking required, contact or call 604-822-3825)

Youth Outreach Workshops
(Feb. 28 + Mar. 1 at 2:30pm)
Presented in partnership with UBC FNHL. Free admission. Register by contacting

Special Festival Opening Event
(March 2, 5-9pm) Included with MOA admission.

Signature Evening Performances
(Mar. 3 + 4, 7:30pm):
Tickets: $30 for Adults,
$25 for Students/Seniors/MOA Members

Festival Stage Performances
(Mar. 4 + 5) Included with MOA admission

Special 10-year Anniversary Closing Ceremony
(Mar. 5, 3pm) Included with MOA admission
*Admission to MOA is free during the daytime performances for persons of Aboriginal ancestry

Museum of Anthropology at UBC
6393 Northwest Marine Drive
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1

Box Office:


About Dancers of Damelahamid (
Dancers of Damelahamid is a professional Aboriginal Dance Company from the Northwest Coast of British Columbia. The Gitxsan, 'people of the river of mists,' are part of the coastal group of cultures that have the distinctive button blanket regalia. Their rich history of masked dance inspires a compelling performance, celebrating the diversity and time depth of the many beautiful Indigenous cultures across Canada. Through dramatic dance, captivating narrative, intricately carved masks and elaborate regalia, the Dancers of Damelahamid transform time and space, and bridge the ancient with a living tradition. The Coastal First Nations Dance Festival is produced and presented annually by Dancers of Damelahamid.

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