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Our Global Dance Connections series begins with Kisiskâciwan, a new work from Indigenous dance artist and choreographer Jeanette Kotowich. We sat down with Jeanette to talk about her introduction to dance, the themes in her choreography and what’s coming up next.
How did you first come to dance?
I grew up in a dancing family. I formally started studio dance at the age of 8. Throughout my childhood and teenage years I spent every evening and the weekends at the studio, training, preparing for exams, and rehearsing for productions. My parents basically had to co-ordinate a constant household shuttle to get the gaggle of us dancing children (4) to our class times each week. I don’t know how they managed all of that, plus feeding us. I can only imagine it was done with a considerable amount of love, and also allocating their financial resources to our dance studies. It moves me deeply to reflect on those early years, and constant love and support provided by my parents, which has been steadfast throughout my artistic journey. This work Kisiskâciwan honours my family, history, heritage, and ancestors past and future. My parents and other family members will be journeying from Saskatchewan to attendan the premiere. They continue to show me their LOVE. If you see them, please congratulate them, they deserve it!
Age 8, circa 1993
What are the main elements/themes in your choreography to date?
Themes and elements
How have you adapted your artistic practice during the pandemic?
Many really great experiences and creative expressions have come out of the pandemic times. I have been working, reworking, remixing, and refining my independent practice and it has been very fulfilling. The pandemic times seemed to speed up the creative process, as production times and projects seemingly had faster turn arounds. So I became less precious about the content I was sharing. I just looked at everything like and experiment. I have found that creating with speed and intensity really supports my creative flow.
Like most dance artists I delved into digital expressions. And have created a series of experimental films called CO-VIDS. I am really proud of my latest film Nimîhtowin Askîhk | Dancing the Land – check it out on my website at the top of my list. If you have time cruise through my CO-VIDS journey. http://movementhealing.ca/covids.html
Tell us about your upcoming new piece, Kisiskâciwan.
“Through memories of my childhood summer, embraced by the Kah-tep-was valley (Nêhiyaw for river that calls), the vast prairie and gently rolling landscape has echoed its lasting impression and whispered a language of inspiration. This is a sacred place that calls generations of peoples for gathering, hunting and spiritual replenishment.”
What are your next project(s)?
Following the Vancouver premiere I will be heading to Tangente (Montreal) and Native Earth (Toronto) to share Kisiskâciwan with the wider Turtle Island audiences this fall. Tell your friends! Next year Kisiskâciwan will also be shared at the National Arts Centre for Matriarchs Uprising, and at Push OFF in Vancouver.
I am also hoping to take some time off to integrate, rest, be with family and vision my next steps. Once my objectives become clear, I am planning to jump back into the creative research of Kwê⚡, an ensemble investigation of femme Spirit and sovereignty.
Please check my website for project updates movementhealing.ca and if you would like to get on my occasional mailing list – reach out to me personally.
All my relations. Hiy Hiy!
The Dance Centre presents the Global Dance Connections Series
Jeanette Kotowich: Kisiskâciwan
September 30, October 1, 2022 | 8pm
Scotiabank Dance Centre
Photos: Courtesy of the artist and Yvonne Chew