12th Annual Coastal Dance Festival Celebrates Indigenous Feminism, Artistry from Canada and Beyond

Dancers of Damelahamid is proud to announce the 12th annual Coastal Dance Festival (formerly Coastal First Nations Dance Festival), a celebration of Indigenous stories, song, and dance from Canada and abroad, February 20–24, 2019, in the state-of-the-art Anvil Centre in New Westminster. Audiences will be treated to a dynamic selection of Northwest Coast and international Indigenous artistry through ancestral and innovative performances, and educational offerings. Highlights include the world premiere of an excerpt of Dancers of Damelahamid’s Mînowin, a new commission from the National Arts Centre’s inaugural National Creation Fund, Australia’s Jo Clancy and the Wagana Aboriginal Dancers, and Montreal’s Émilie Monnet and Nahka Bertrand.

“This is a year of change for Coastal Dance Festival,” says Festival Executive & Artistic Director Margaret Grenier. “With MOA’s Great Hall undergoing seismic upgrades, we are delighted to have found a new home for 2019 at the Anvil Centre — a vibrant space that is an ideal backdrop for this year’s inventive program. Additionally, we are thrilled to announce our new name; we have re-branded to better represent the festival’s inclusivity of Indigenous cultures around the world while still maintaining a focus on the longstanding tradition of Northwest Coast Indigenous dance. The festival shines a light on strong threads of Indigenous feminism from British Columbia and beyond.”

Coastal Dance Festival welcomes Indigenous artists from British Columbia, the Yukon, Quebec, Alaska, Washington state, and Australia. New and not-to-be-missed performances this year include: the festival debut of Montreal-based singer Émilie Monnet and Nahka Bertrand, whose work draws on the symbolism of dreams and mythologies to tell stories that address today’s world; the Wagana Aboriginal Dancers of Australia’s Blue Mountains and Central New South Wales west country, led by Jo Clancy; and Dancers of Damelahamid performing an excerpt in full regalia from their new work Mînowin, which integrates narrative, movement, song, performance, and new multimedia design to connect landscapes and Coastal form line with contemporary perspectives of customary Indigenous dance forms.

Other highlights include Montreal-based dancer and choreographer Barbara Kaneratonni Diabo, who will share a tribute to Mohawk iron-workers; perennial festival favourite and Squamish-based dance company Spakwus Slolem will perform songs and dances representative of their canoe culture; and the return of Flying Gwitch’in Fiddler Boyd Benjamin and singer-songwriter Kevin Barr.

The Dancers of Damelahamid proudly acknowledge that the festival takes place on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Qayqayt people.

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