Published July 25, 2017
TORONTO – The Living Ritual – International Indigenous Performing Arts Festival – taking place in Tkaronto (Toronto) at Harbourfront Centre’s Fleck Dance Theatre kicks off tonight and runs until July 27. Read about it here in the Toronto Star.
Produced by Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, one of Canada’s leading performing arts companies, the festival creates space for Indigenous artists, arts and culture enthusiasts, and both local and global delegates from across Turtle Island (Canada, United States), Aotearoa (New Zealand) and Australia to gather, network, perform, celebrate, promote and dialogue about Indigenous artistic practice. The Living Ritual festival’s vision is Indigenous-led by Dora Mavor Moore Award and recent REVEAL Indigenous Arts Award-winning Artistic Director Santee Smith, and Artistic Producer, Curator and Festival Executive Producer Cynthia Lickers-Sage.
“Living Ritual carves out space for artists and audiences to be creative, share and connect, passing on knowledge in the most exciting and transformative ways” says Smith, who earlier this year took her first-ever trip to Nunavut, while touring her critically-acclaimed NeoIndigenA performance piece (that appears in the Living Ritual Festival) across the United States, northwestern Canada and New Zealand. “It’s all about placing artists at the centre, from which springs forth conversation, understanding and connection. This festival also speaks to the power of place (Tkaronto) and kinship relations to the land and people. If someone wants to understand more about the Indigenous experience, Living Ritual offers some insight.”
Privileging Indigenous performance, the festival presents a wide array of works through powerful contemporary and experimental works, crafted from Indigenous methodology, voice and body, uniting past, present and future dance and theatre practices.
The festival opens up with an Onkwehon:we Edge of the Woods Welcome Ceremony as part of its daytime programming which includes: Provocation Addresses, panel discussions, Embodied Sharing (Master Classes) and Performative Lectures. The program then shifts in the evening to include one night only public performances and premieres from internationally renowned artists and companies who offer a distinct perspective on Indigenous performance including: the pioneering Spiderwoman Theater (New York, USA) presenting Aanmitaagzi‘s “Material Witness”, Qaggiavuut Nunavut Performing Arts’ (Nunavut, Canada) new work “Kiviuq Returns” (which recently world premiered at the National Arts Centre’s Canada Scene – Living Ritual will be the lone Toronto stop of their tour); the world premiere of “[MIS]CONCEIVE” by Thomas E.S. Kelly (Queensland & New South Wales, Australia); the critically-acclaimed “We Wait in the Darkness” by Rosy Simas Dance (Minnesota, USA) andKaha:wi Dance Theatre’s (Toronto, Canada) own “NeoIndigenA” by Artistic Director Santee Smith among others.
At a time when many colonizing structures are openly being called into question, Living Ritual also offers an honest public forum to dialogue on decolonial processes and push button issues, discuss global issues in Indigenous performance, and engage in professional development, while promoting artistic cross-pollination and inter-cultural collaborations.
Living Ritual takes place on the ancestral territory of the Onkwehon:we, Anishaanbe and Huron-Wendat and acknowledges the spirits of the ancestors, animals and the land in the Dish with One Spoon Treaty lands and open a space to honour ourinterconnectivity and interdependence.