Dancers of Damelahamid Open Tonight in Toronto

Dancers of Damelahamid Open Tonight in Toronto

DanceWorks, Toronto's acclaimed and longest running contemporary dance series, is proud to present Vancouver's Dancers of Damelahamid with the Toronto premiere of its innovative multi-media dance piece Flicker, choreographed by the Artistic Director of the company, Margaret Grenier. Flicker runs Friday, February 9-Saturday, February 10, 2018 at Harbourfront Centre Theatre as part of the NextSteps dance series.

The Dancers of Damelahamid is an Indigenous dance company of the Gitxsan Nation. The Gitxsan, "people of the river of mists," are part of the coastal group of cultures with a rich history of masked dance. Through dramatic dance, captivating narrative, intricately carved masks and elaborate regalia, the Dancers of Damelahamid bridge the ancient with a living tradition.

The flicker, a woodpecker from the Northwest Coast of British Columbia, is a transcendent figure often represented in coastal masks. Flicker tells the story of a young man who discovers his potential as he journeys through the world. Embodied in him, the flicker represents duality. Through the cloak of the flicker, the masked dancers cross through space and time, in and out of the spirit world of their ancestors. Demonstrating how to access true potential without limitation, Flicker guides audiences on a journey to acquire ancestral gifts and strengthen capacity to create change.

Flicker links artistic practices of traditional First Nations and modern forms - including coastal dance, powwow, contemporary movement vocabularies and multi-media technology. Through these intersections, Flicker explores the diversity of dance and reflects the complexity of contemporary Indigenous identities.

As Margaret Grenier notes: "The flicker in the story is meaningful on several levels. The literal flicker, the woodpecker, is significant within Northwest coast design. The split-u design, which is one of the primary components of Northwest coast art, comes from the tail feathers of a flicker. Flicker as a metaphor represents the flickering of light. Just like a small flame needs to be nurtured to grow strong, so do the artistic practices of Indigenous song and dance need constant care and diligent effort to grow and strengthen."

The featured performers in this unique evening are Rebecca Baker, Margaret Grenier, Nigel Grenier, Raven Grenier and Kristy Janvier.

The Vancouver East Cultural Centre commissioned Flicker where it premiered in May 2016, followed soon after with a presentation at the Canada Dance Festival at Ottawa's National Arts Centre in June that same year.

Dancers of Damelahamid is an Indigenous dance company that is founded upon over five decades of extensive work of song restoration. Choreographer Margaret Grenier is the Executive and Artistic Director for the Dancers of Damelahamid. Under her guidance, the company has produced the annual Coastal First Nations Dance Festival since 2008. Grenier's choreographies for the company have reached national and international audiences and include Setting the Path 2004, Sharing the Spirit 2007 (New Zealand in 2008 and the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, China), Visitors Who Never Left 2009, Dancing Our Stories 2010, Spirit Transforming 2012, In Abundance 2013 and Flicker 2016. It is the current directive of the Dancers of Damelahamid to redefine their practice in order that dance may continue to be tangible and accessible for the next generation. Margaret Grenier holds a Masters of Arts in Arts Education from Simon Fraser University and was a faculty member for the Banff Centre Indigenous Dance Residency 2013. She serves on the Board for Vancouver's Dance Centre as well as the Canadian Dance Assembly. http://damelahamid.ca/

DanceWorks began as a collective of independent dance artists in 1977 and has grown to become Toronto's leading presenter of independent dance. DanceWorks offers seasons of eclectic, exhilarating choreography programmed to intrigue, challenge and enthrall. DanceWorks adds to the theatrical experience with Carol's Dance Notes and post-performance conversations with artists. http://www.danceworks.ca and https://danceworksblog.wordpress.com


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