11th Annual Coastal First Nations Dance Festival Showcases Indigenous Stories, Song & Dance From Pacific to Scandinavia

11th Annual Coastal First Nations Dance Festival Showcases Indigenous Stories, Song & Dance From Pacific to Scandinavia

Dancers of Damelahamid, in partnership with the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at UBC, announce the 11th Coastal First Nations Dance Festival, an annual celebration of Indigenous stories, song and dance from Canada and abroad, February 27 - March 4, 2018 at MOA's Great Hall. Audiences will enjoy a vibrant array of Northwest Coast Indigenous and international Indigenous artistry through ancestral and innovative performances, educational offerings, and youth workshops. Highlights include the Vancouver debut of a distinguished Gwitch'in fiddler, the festival's first-ever Norwegian-Sami artist in their Canadian premiere, as well as works from Dancers of Damelahamid.

"We are proud to offer local audiences the opportunity to discover Northwest Coast Indigenous deep-rooted, revitalized dance traditions while providing new encounters with Indigenous performers from far beyond our shores," says Festival Executive & Artistic Director Margaret Grenier. "We are honoured to witness the commitment, skill and passion of the many diverse festival artists, who continue to forge a crucial link between the past, present, and future for their communities."

This year's festival welcomes Indigenous performance groups from throughout British Columbia, the Yukon, Alaska, and Washington State as well as international guest artists. New and not-to-be-missed: Yukon's acclaimed Boyd Benjamin, aka 'The Flying Gwitch'in Fiddler', who has shared the stage with such stars as Buffy Saint-Marie and Ashley MacIsaac with guitarist Kevin Barr; and all the way from Norway, performance artist Stina Therese Lorås Hessaa, who bridges her early training in ballet at Sweden's Gothenburg academy with Sami Indigenous traditions.

Other highlights include: Peter Espiritu, the founder and Artistic Director of Hawai'i's critically acclaimed contemporary dance company Tau Dance Theater is back to perform in the Pacific Islander tradition. Adorned in stunning regalia, the Haida troupe and festival favourite Rainbow Creek Dancers will share captivating masked dances. Audiences can also look forward to performances by Git Hayetsk and Git Hoan, Alaskan groups with long-standing connections to Dancers of Damelahamid; the 50-member, multigenerational Coast Salish Tsatsu Stalquayu (Coastal Wolf Pack); and Dancers of Damelahamid, who will share excerpts from their own acclaimed works: Spirit and Tradition (2010) and Interweavings (2017).

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

The 2018 Coastal First Nations Dance Festival comprises of the following events/offerings:

  • 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 histories and cultures of Indigenous dance, song, and storytelling.
  • Youth Workshops: Peter Espiritu (Hawaiian 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.

The 2018 Festival hosts a range of returning audience favourites, and first-time festival performers. For program details, visit: damelahamid.ca

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