Matriarchs Uprising

Santee Smith/photo Ian R Maracle

O.Dela Arts presents

Matriarchs Uprising
Indigenous Women Dancing Stories of Transformation

JUNE 20-22, 2019

A weekend of performances and events focusing on women in the arts, and dance works by contemporary Indigenous female artists. 
Curated by Olivia C. Davies and supported through The Dance Centre’s Artist-in-Residence program.
All events take place at Scotiabank Dance Centre, 677 Davie St, except where stated.


Cheyenne Rain LeGrande (Canada) + Mariaa Randall (Australia)
Thursday June 20 | 7pm
At 8EAST, 8 East Pender Street, Vancouver


In Painting the Dance, Mariaa Randall creates her world with one step, one gesture, one movement. Linking country to stories and stories to country, she creates a world that reflects her, that she can be seen in. A place where her image is controlled by her. Mariaa belongs to the Bundjalung and Yaegl people of New South Wales, and has choreographed with companies and artists including Jacob Boehme (Blood on the Dance Floor) and Ilbijerri Theatre Company. Pimiy in the Nehiyaw language means oil. In this work, Nehiyaw Isko emerging artist Cheyenne Rain LeGrande is thinking and working through ideas around oil and the environment. This work is also a response to her Nimâmâ, Connie LeGrande, who sings and hums into a drum. Her voice vibrating as it hits the drum and then she moves into spoken word.

Running time: 70 minutes + intermission | Post-show artist talkback | This performance includes nudity

Raven Spirit Dance (Canada) + Kaha:wi Dance Theatre (Canada)
Friday June 21 | 8pm

Frost Exploding Trees Moon is a solo choreographed and performed by Michelle Olson of Raven Spirit Dance following the journey of a woman traveling her trap line. She finds a place to set up camp, builds her temporary home, and settles into the centre of her world of breath and perception. The piece tracks a physical human journey as well as a spiritual one. It asks: How does one house one’s spirit? What keeps us close to earth and what makes us long for stars?

Blood, Water, Earth is an embodied incantation, weaving performance, video and music/song. Channeling the ancestral, elemental and sacred, the imagery explores what is woman, from warrior, creator, sustainer of life, and huntress. Blood Water Earth places a Konkwehon:we worldview in the vanguard and is inspired by the concepts emerging from Kaha:wi Dance Theatre’s triptych series on Re-Matriation: Re-Quickening, Blood Tides and Skennen. Created and performed by internationally-acclaimed Artistic Director Santee Smith with key collaborators Louise Potiki Bryant (video designer), Cris Derksen (composition) and Andy Moro (lighting design). 

Running time: 90 minutes + intermission | Post-show artist talkback

Jessica McMann (Canada) + Maura Garcia Dance (USA)
Saturday June 22 | 8pm

Cree dance artist and musician Jessica McMann’s iihksiisiinatsiistostiimao nipaitapiitsiin is an excerpt of a full-length solo in development. It layers indigenous creation methods with two years of land-based research on Alberta’s Nose Hill and the Ghost River, and shares personal histories connected to land and displacement. Soundscapes, visuals, and movement create an intimate space, where we witness a personal story that draws us into a different time.

Maura Garcia’s They Are Still Talking pays homage to our connection to our ancestors through air, gesture, intergenerational trauma and laughter. We are physically formed from all that our ancestors were. As we speak, the air that travels through our bodies carries their essence. Using dance, music and sculpture, this expressive work blends elements of narrative and ritual.

Running time: 90 minutes + intermission | Post-show artist talkback | This performance uses haze, and includes voluntary audience participation


$30 regular
$22 students, seniors, CADA and Dance Centre members
3-show pack $75 (limited availability)-SOLD OUT
Tickets Tonight 604.684.2787 (additional charges apply for telephone bookings)


Creative Lab: Poetry in Motion with Mariaa Randall
Thursday, June 20 | 1-4pm

Poetry in Motion invites participants to create movement from one of their favourite poems or write their own as source for creative movement and choreographic expression.
$15-30 (pay what you can)
Limited capacity.
To register: email by June 15

Creative Lab: Community Connections through Indigenous Dance
Friday June 21 | 5-7pm

Indigenous dance artists cultivate meaningful dance-related activities in their communities by sharing stories using traditional and contemporary dances. This lab features an opportunity for peer-to-peer knowledge exchange geared towards facilitators and community-engaged artists of all disciplines.
With Jessica McMann, Maura Garcia, Olivia C. Davies.
Free admission

Open Rehearsal and Studio Showing
Saturday June 22 | 1pm-3pm

Choreographers Starr Muranko and Olivia C. Davies share excerpts of new works in development and host talk-backs with witnesses.
Free admission

Starr Muranko: Chapter 21 A visceral and honest experience shared by Starr through her personal healing journey and motherhood: A new baby boy. Chromosome 21. The big ‘C’ diagnosis. 21 days between treatments. 21 days to re-pattern my beliefs. Courage. Faith. Resilience.

Olivia C. Davies: Gidaashi zaagidaashi tossed out by whirlwind (Anishinaabemowin ~ translated by Elder Jacob Wemigwans from Wiikwemkoong First Nation). This new work in development attempts to translate the choices made through experiences of displacement.

Circle Conversation: Alone and Surrounded
Saturday June 22 | 6-7pm

An examination of the practice of creating solo works that are imbued with ancestral spirit; where we are alone and simultaneously surrounded by spirit.
With Starr Muranko, Mariaa Randall, Michelle Olson
Free admission

Master Classes with Contemporary Indigenous Choreographers

Participants must have some dance experience. Ages 16+
June 20, 10-11.30am Kaha:wi Dance Theatre | $20
June 22, 10-11.30am Raven Spirit Dance | $20

Skwachàys Artists in Residence Exhibit
June 15- August 15

Photo: Santee Smith/Ian R Maracle

Top L-R: Juan Contreras, Kaytee Dalton, Pippa Samaya

Bottom L-R: Chris Randle, Ian R Maracle, Yvonne Chew

Please note the program is subject to change.