Dancers of Damelahamid celebrate the 15th annual Coastal Dance Festival, showcasing Indigenous stories, song, and dance from across Canada and around the world, April 20-24, 2022 at the Anvil Centre in New Westminster.
15th Anniversary Coastal Dance Festival
- When: April 20-23, 2022
- Where: Anvil Centre (777 Columbia St, New Westminster)
- Tickets: Thursday and Friday night tickets available online here. All other performances are free or by donation.
This year’s festival will participate in Canada’s yearlong Nordic Bridges initiative, fostering cultural exchange between Canada and the Nordic region through the multidisciplinary presentation of contemporary art, culture and ideas. To honour the festival’s milestone anniversary, Dancers of Damelahamid will also create a short documentary available online this summer, sharing stories about its community of dancers and highlighting themes of cultural revitalization and resiliency.
As part of Nordic Bridges, the Festival will premiere works from four Indigenous Sámi artists from Norway and Sweden. An evening dedicated to contemporary Indigenous dance – a festival first – will feature a duet from Swedish Sámi contemporary dancers Liv Aira, artistic director of the Sámi-based Invisible People Contemporary Dance, and Marika Renhuvud, a dance educator and member of Aira’s dance company, as well as Norwegian Sámi aerial acrobatic dancer Camilla Therese Karlsen, who will perform with two members of her company. Joining the contemporary program is a local Indigenous artist who will make their festival debut: Tasha Faye Evans (Coast Salish), a Port Moody dance and theatre artist, who will share an excerpt of her latest work Cedar Woman.
The festival will also present several traditional Indigenous artists, including Norway’s Sámi singer and activist Sara Marielle Gaup and Sámi singer and poet Lawra Somby, as well as introduce Theland Kicknosway (Potawatomi, Cree), an 18-year-old youth activist, influencer and hoop dancer from Walpole Island, Bkejwanong Territory, in Ontario.
In addition to signature presentations from Sámi artists from Norway and Sweden, this year’s festival welcomes performances from 15 Indigenous groups from throughout British Columbia, Washington, Alaska, the Yukon, and Ontario.
Returning to the program includes numerous festival favourites: dynamic dance group Chinook Song Catchers (Skwxwu7mesh, Nisga’a); Squamish-based Spakwus Slolem (Skwxwu7mesh); mask-dancing groups Git Hayetsk (Nisga’a, Tsimshian) and Git Hoan (Tsimshian); a family group from many First Nations Xwelmexw Shxwexwo:s (Stó:lō, Musqueam, Sts:ailes, Snuneymuxw, Nuu-chah-nulth, Skwxwu7mesh); Rainbow Creek Dancers (Haida), in celebration of traditional Haida ceremonial dances; the return of Tooma Laisa and Leanna Wilson, drum dancers and throat singers of traditional Inuit songs; the award-winning Inland Tlingit Dakhká Khwáan Dancers; Yisya̱’winux̱w, a group representing many of the 16 tribes of the Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw people; Chesha7 iy lha mens (Skwxwu7mesh, Stó:lō, Tsimsian), a family group of grandmothers, mothers, and daughters; Kwhlii Gibaygum, a highly energetic group representing the Nisga’a people of the Nass River valley in Northern British Columbia; and Dancers of Damelahamid (Gitxsan, Cree), whose performance will focus on the strength of Indigenous Elders in carrying artistic practices through the generations.
Coastal Dance Festival will also introduce an Artist Sharing this year, which promises to complement the festival’s signature evening and festival stage performances.
The series will serve as a platform for cultural sharing, featuring panel discussions and short presentations to deepen our understanding of Indigenous artistic practices, histories and sources of inspiration. Included in the Artist Sharing are Sámi artists Liv Aira, Marika Renhuvud, Sara Marielle Gaup, and Lawra Somby, as well as local artists Terri-Lynn Williams Davidson and Robert Davidson (Haida), fashion and jewelry designer Pam Baker (Skwxwu7mesh, Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw), fashion and regalia designer and Dancers of Damelahamid dancer Rebecca Baker-Grenier (Skwxwu7mesh, Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw), and contemporary Indigenous artist Andy Everson (K’omoks, Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw).
I have a pair of tickets to give away, and the winner can choose to attend the Signature Evening Performances on either April 21st or 22nd. Here’s how you can enter to win:Win Tickets to the Coastal Dance Festival
- Online Launch Wednesday, April 20, 2022
- Artist Sharing (free) Thursday, April 21 at 6:30 pm
- Signature Evening Performances (ticketed gala event) Thursday, April 21 at 8:00pm
- Artist Sharing (free) Friday, April 22, 2022 at 6:30pm
- Signature Evening Performances (ticketed gala event) Friday, April 22 at 8:00pm
- Festival Stage Performances (by donation) Saturday, April 23, 2022
- Artist Sharing (free) Saturday, April 23, 2022 at 4:30pm
- Festival Stage Performances (by donation) Sunday, April 24, 2022
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