Press Releases



The Dance Centre and O.Dela Arts present
Matriarchs Uprising
June 20-22, 2019
Scotiabank Dance Centre
A weekend of performances and events focusing on women in the arts and highlighting dance works by contemporary Indigenous female artists.
Curated by Olivia C. Davies and supported through The Dance Centre’s Artist-in-Residence program. Special thanks to public funding support from the Canada Council for the Arts, City of Vancouver Cultural Award Program, and private donors who made this festival possible! Additional thanks to our partners at 8EAST/ Now Society, Made In BC Dance on Tour, Skwachàys Lodge , logo designer Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley, and participating artists Cheyenne Rain LeGrande,  Jessica McMann, Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, Maura Garcia Dance, Raven Spirit Dance, and dubaikungkamiyalk | Mariaa Randall.
Cheyenne Rain LeGrande (Canada) + Mariaa Randall (Australia)
Thursday June 20 | 7pm
At 8EAST, 8 East Pender Street, Vancouver – FB EVENT
In Painting the Dance, Mariaa Randall creates her world with one step, one gesture, one movement. Linking country to stories and stories to country, she creates a world that reflects her, that she can be seen in. A place where her image is controlled by her. Mariaa belongs to the Bundjalung and Yaegl people of New South Wales, and has choreographed with companies and artists including Jacob Boehme (Blood on the Dance Floor) and Ilbijerri Theatre Company. Pimiy in the Nehiyaw language means oil. In this work, Nehiyaw Isko emerging artist Cheyenne Rain LeGrande is thinking and working through ideas around oil and the environment. This work is also a response to her Nimâmâ, Connie LeGrande, who sings and hums into a drum. Her voice vibrating as it hits the drum and then she moves into spoken word.
Running time: 70 minutes + intermission | Post-show artist talkback | This performance includes nudity
Raven Spirit Dance (Canada) + Kaha:wi Dance Theatre (Canada)
Friday June 21 | 8pm
Frost Exploding Trees Moon is a solo choreographed and performed by Michelle Olson of Raven Spirit Dance following the journey of a woman traveling her trap line. She finds a place to set up camp, builds her temporary home, and settles into the centre of her world of breath and perception. The piece tracks a physical human journey as well as a spiritual one. It asks: How does one house one’s spirit? What keeps us close to earth and what makes us long for stars?
Blood, Water, Earth is an embodied incantation, weaving performance, video and music/song. Channeling the ancestral, elemental and sacred, the imagery explores what is woman, from warrior, creator, sustainer of life, and huntress. Blood Water Earth places a Konkwehon:we worldview in the vanguard and is inspired by the concepts emerging from Kaha:wi Dance Theatre’s triptych series on Re-Matriation: Re-Quickening, Blood Tides and Skennen. Created and performed by internationally-acclaimed Artistic Director Santee Smith with key collaborators Louise Potiki Bryant (video designer), Cris Derksen (composition) and Andy Moro (lighting design).
Running time: 90 minutes + intermission | Post-show artist talkback
Jessica McMann (Canada) + Maura Garcia Dance (USA)
Saturday June 22 | 8pm
Cree dance artist and musician Jessica McMann’s iihksiisiinatsiistostiimao nipaitapiitsiin is an excerpt of a full-length solo in development. It 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. Soundscapes, visuals, and movement create an intimate space, where we witness a personal story that draws us into a different time.
Maura Garcia’s They Are Still Talking pays homage to our connection to our ancestors through air, gesture, intergenerational trauma and laughter. We are physically formed from all that our ancestors were. As we speak, the air that travels through our bodies carries their essence. Using dance, music and sculpture, this expressive work blends elements of narrative and ritual.
Running time: 90 minutes + intermission | Post-show artist talkback | This performance uses haze, and includes voluntary audience participation

Creative Lab: Poetry in Motion with Mariaa Randall
Thursday, June 20 | 1-4pm
Poetry in Motion invites participants to create movement from one of their favourite poems or write their own as source for creative movement and choreographic expression.
Creative Lab: Community Connections through Indigenous Dance
Friday June 21 | 5-7pm
Indigenous dance artists cultivate meaningful dance-related activities in their communities by sharing stories using traditional and contemporary dances. This lab features an opportunity for peer-to-peer knowledge exchange geared towards facilitators and community-engaged artists of all disciplines.
With Jessica McMann, Maura Garcia, Olivia C. Davies.
Free admission
Open Rehearsal and Studio Showing – FB EVENT
Saturday June 22 | 1pm-3pm

Choreographers Starr Muranko and Olivia C. Davies share excerpts of new works in development and host talk-backs with witnesses.
Free admission
Starr Muranko: Chapter 21 A visceral and honest experience shared by Starr through her personal healing journey and motherhood: A new baby boy. Chromosome 21. The big ‘C’ diagnosis. 21 days between treatments. 21 days to re-pattern my beliefs. Courage. Faith. Resilience.
Olivia C. Davies: Gidaashi (solo excerpt) zaagidaashi is translated as the action of being tossed out by whirlwind (Anishinaabemowin ~ translated by Elder Jacob Wemigwans from Wiikwemkoong First Nation). This new work in development attempts to translate the choices made through experiences of displacement.
Circle Conversation: Alone and Surrounded
Saturday June 22 | 6-7pm
An examination of the practice of creating solo works that are imbued with ancestral spirit; where we are alone and simultaneously surrounded by spirit.
With Mariaa Randall, Michelle Olson, Starr Muranko, Olivia C. Davies
Free admission
Master Classes with Contemporary Indigenous Choreographers EVENT
Participants must have some dance experience. Ages 16+
June 20, 10-11.30am Kaha:wi Dance Theatre | $20
June 22, 10-11.30am Raven Spirit Dance | $20
Skwachàys Artists in Residence Exhibit
June 15- August 15
The festival takes place on the ancestral and unceded Indigenous territories of the ʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations.


 Maura Garcia Dance Coming to Northwest Arkansas
Crystal Bridges is pleased to host Maura Garcia Dance for a week-long artist engagement this summer (June 1-9). Artistic Director Maura García (non-enrolled Cherokee/Mattamuskeet) founded the company to uplift Indigenous cultural values, to form connections and to explore the rhythms of the natural world. The Kansas City-based ensemble will present performances of Aniwisvsgo’i in response to specific places of Northwest Arkansas: Lake Atalanta, the museum grounds, and Lake Fayetteville.

Aniwisvsgo’i means “they are always planting” in the Cherokee language. The dance honors Indigenous planting traditions, the elements, and our places in the world. Aniwisvsgo’i is split into three parts: preparing the ground, planting, and harvest. The thread that connects us to our ancestral homelands, where we live now, and ultimately one another, weaves itself in and out this exploration of our relationship with the powers that make growth possible.

The performances include an element of community participation. On the mornings of June 2, 8, and 9, Maura García invites people to take a workshop and join the performance as “movers” if they wish. All bodies and abilities are welcome and can sign up here to be a part of the workshops.

In addition to the performances, García will give an Artist Talk and teach a meditation and mindfulness class informed by her artistic practice. Her work is powered by a desire to perpetuate ancestral knowledge, actively respect the living earth and bring happiness to people. García’s work enlivens the stories of environmental understanding found in the exhibition, Nature’s Nation, at Crystal Bridges, opening May 25.

In a Q & A session with Crystal Bridges, García shared her thoughts about the upcoming engagement. “I’m excited because these performances will be locally specific remounts of the piece. What that means is that we will be working on the land with new people in a way that can only happen, and will only happen, in three sites in Northwest Arkansas. These performances will be unique to the space, the community, and the day.”

García looks forward to sharing her work, meeting new people, and spending time in this community.

Below is the list of programs to participate in:

Lake Atalanta, Sunday, June 2, 2 pm and 4 pm
Movers workshop for performers, 10 to 11:30 am

Gallery Conversation with Maura Garcia, Friday, June 7, 1 to 2 pm

Garden Party, Crystal Bridges, Saturday, June 8, 2 pm and 3:30 pm
Movers workshop for performers, 10 to 11:30 am

Lake Fayetteville Park, Sunday, June 9,  2 pm and 4 pm
Movers workshop for performers, 10-11:30 am

Meditation and Mindfulness » Maura Garcia, Monday, June 10, 1 to 2 pm

If you would like to learn more about how to get involved, please feel free to contact, Sara Segerlin,, Senior Manager of Public Programs and Community Engagement.
This post was written by Sara Segerlin, Senior Manager of Public Programs and Community Engagement.


Link to photo journal of my time at First Nations Dialogues in Lenapehoking


Maura García: How do we honour our ancestors?

We are thrilled to welcome Kansas-based choreographer and dancer Maura García (non-enrolled Cherokee/Mattamuskeet) to the festival with her latest work They Are Still Talking, a 4-part homage to our connections to our ancestors through air, gesture, intergenerational trauma, and laughter.
They Are Still Talking emerges from the idea that our bodies are formed from our ancestors’ good and flesh. When we are speaking and moving, they are also reactivated and brought to life. We are never alone. So how do we honour them? Are we puppets reliving past lives? Where does what is uniquely ours begin? And does that matter?
Previously developed during an artist residency at Lawrence Arts Center, García collaborates with Odawa puppeteer Lindy Kinoshameg, musicians Mark Gabriel Little, Adrian Dion Harjo, and Amado Espinoza, and costume designer Mona Cliff to conjure an innovative multimedia dance performance. “My previous work dealt with planting and the season. This new piece is a little more human focused, but still contains the element of cyclical movement.”
García believes the opportunity will allow her to really delve into the subject matter and aesthetics. “It is a fertile ground for creation and presentation of contemporary Indigenous works, and I believe it will allow for this piece to grow significantly.”

“I hope the audience will talk more with their elders after seeing the performance. Find out more. Research their own families and nations. Reflect more about the connection we have to our ancestors, not just from 300 years ago, but the longer legacy of non-traumatized ancestors from 530 years, 1000 years, 3000 years ago…I hope it will inspire them to reflect on the circular time that is the creation and what their role may be.”

Catch Maura García Dance’s They Are Still Talking - Thursday, November 15th!

More about Maura García
What piece are you looking forward to seeing at W31?
Very hard question! I am looking forward to it all! I am particularly excited about other dance pieces, including Gashkigwaaso by Waawaate Fobister and In The Abyss by Aria Evans.
Who is your Indigenous role model? How do they inspire you?
They have both passed on: Benny Smith and Mitty James.
The former was my mentor who taught me how to pray in my language and so many other traditional ways. The latter showed me what it means to be strong, gracious, and loving Giduwagi woman despite hardships.
Where do you find your inspiration for your creative work?
The moon, the sun birds, people walking around, children doing weird child-like things, the movement of everyday actions or work, ceremony, water.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Wait for the grant officer or theatre rep to reject you – don’t reject yourself!
Do you have any advice for young Indigenous creators just coming onto the scene?
Be kind. Be firm. Take care of your body. Keep your ceremonies. Visit your people. Do not give up and remember the art world is very small.
What are you craving right now?
Dramaturgy. Comraderies. Lively and accessible Indigenous performing arts community.
What is coming up next for you?
Learn more about Maura García Dance here.


Fri, Nov 9 | 7pm
Sat, Nov 10 | 3pm & 7pm
Sun, Nov 11 | 3pm

Rethink: I Am aVeteran is a performance and storytelling project centered on the lives of women veterans, their families, and friends. This project, which is designed and led by women artists, focuses on veterans who are women, sharing their first person experiences and delving into topics such as the challenges of toxic masculinity, abuse, military glass ceilings, family life, sexuality, camaraderie, and empowerment while serving their country with honor.

Project-based artist in residence Danielle Wyckoff will be working in the John Talleur Printmaking Studio. Join her to learn about responsive methods of screenprinting and to help produce the scenic design of Rethink: I Am A Veteran, an original theatrical production, along with a corresponding installation for the main lobby. All are invited to enroll in her workshop, Free-form Screenprinting Workshop.

* The views and opinions expressed in this performance are reflections of the individual participants, and not meant to represent the entire female veteran experience.

A Glimpse at the Creation Process
This project, which is designed and led by women artists, focuses on veterans who are women, sharing their first-person experience, which was sparked by two questions: who are women, and who are veterans? Rethink: I Am a Veteran will provide possible answers to these questions and will do so through the words of the people who live those answers every day: local female veterans. Stories were collected in one-on-one interviews and a story circle, following a technique used by Community-Based Performance Artist Jan Cohen-Cruz. Selected stories were then transcribed and interpreted through an artistic lens by the performers building Rethink: I Am a Veteran. Maura Garcia joins the cast as a guest choreographer and performer.