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The sixth annual Matriarchs Uprising Festival takes place February 19-25. We sat down with O.Dela Arts Artistic Associate Samantha Sutherland, to discuss her work, the festival, and what you can expect in the upcoming edition.
Briefly describe your dance career to date.
I grew up and received my dance training on the west coast. After completing the Arts Umbrella Graduate Program I worked as a guest artist with Ballet BC, then moved to Tkaronto to work as an Associate Artist with Red Sky Performance. Over the last three years I have been working as a freelance choreographer, performer, and teacher. I have created solo works that I’ve had the honour of showcasing in festivals in Tkaronto and across the country. I have performed in works by Alejandro Ronceria and Jera Wolfe. I currently work as an Artistic Associate with O.Dela Arts, the producer of the Matriarchs Uprising Festival.
What is your relationship with the Matriarchs Uprising Festival? What does the festival mean to you?
I care very deeply about the Matriarchs Uprising Festival. When I attended the festival in its inaugural year I was shown what contemporary Indigenous Dance is, and saw the strong women that lead this community. It opened up my dance world past ballet and euro-centric styles of dance and showed me another avenue into professional dancing. I feel honoured to be a part of this festival now and to have been embraced by this warm, powerful community. This is my second time being a part of the festival as an Artistic Associate of O.Dela Arts and it is a highlight of my year.
Tell us about the work you’re sharing at this year’s festival.
In this years festival I am in residence working on my new piece naⱡa (pronounced nath-la). This work is an ensemble piece that will have its premiere in Tkaronto at The Citadel Spring Mix and is being co-produced by O.Dela Arts. I am taking this residency at Matriarchs Uprising to flesh out and finalize the story and movement of naⱡa to prepare for our final rehearsals before the premiere. I will be doing a studio sharing on Wednesday February 21 at 1:30pm, I hope you come by!
What are some of the highlights in the upcoming edition (other than you!)?
There is much to witness and participate in during Matriarchs Uprising! There are workshops led by our performing artists; Barbara Kaneratonni Diabo, Louise Potiki Bryant, and Sandra Lamouche. There are Circle Conversations in person and online. Fellow Artistic Associate Sophie Dow and myself have curated the Indigi-Dance On Screens featuring five gorgeous films by artists across the globe. To top it off we have our evening performances, Niizh Niimiwinan: Two Dances, and An Evening with Raven Spirit Dance. It is a packed week and I hope you witness and move with us!
What is your next project?
As mentioned above I am working up to premiere naⱡa this Spring. The following months are filled with participating as dancer in exciting works by choreographers in Tkaronto and Vancouver. I am excited that this year I am taking part in Pakitinam by Raven Spirit Dance. I have the opportunity to develop a new work under mentorship of Brian Solomon with a showcase in December 2024. I am looking ahead with a smile at all I will do this year!
Matriarchs Uprising Festival
Details and Tickets
Photos: Aidan Tooth; Jeysa Caridad
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