The Dancers of Damelahamid: Mînowin
Mînowin illuminates the process of finding direction, is an exploration and understanding of organic moments when we connect with one another that breathe new life into our artistic practices, and a critical experiment with performance space.
Through integrating narrative, movement, song, performance, and new multimedia design, Mînowin connects landscapes and Coastal form line with contemporary perspectives of customary Indigenous dance forms. The Dancers of Damelahamid aim to achieve this by drawing from our origin stories and exploring ways to translate this through a contemporary lens.
In order for this work to reach its transformative potential, it is necessary to revolutionize how we have learned to work within and claim space. The production will balance the performance space by adding contemporary reflections of Indigenous identity, through the multimedia elements, with an aim to immerse the audience in a narrative that illustrates moments of connection, understanding, and renewal.
Indigenous Arts is generously supported by:
Margaret Grenier — Artistic Director/Choreographer
Margaret has directed and produced the Coastal First Nations Dance Festival since 2008. Margaret holds a Masters of Arts in Arts Education at Simon Fraser University. She was a sessional instructor at Simon Fraser University for Foundations in Aboriginal Education, Language, and Culture in 2007. Margaret was a faculty member for the Banff Centre Indigenous Dance Residency 2013. She presented at the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education in Australia 2008, Peru 2011, and Hawaii 2015 and serves on the Board for The Dance Centre as well as the Canadian Dance Assembly.
Andrew Grenier — Creative Producer, Set and Visual Design
Andrew spent 20 years training with the company and has performed with the company since 2004. Andrew has worked with cedar and textiles, creating the sets for the Dancers of Damelahamid productions since 2004 and for the annual Coastal First Nations Dance Festival since 2008. Andrew oversees all the technical and set requirements for the Dancers of Damelahamid and is the Production Manager for the Coastal First Nations Dance Festival. Andrew has a BSc from McGill University and Masters in Environmental Education from Simon Fraser University.
Peter Rockford Espiritu — Dramaturge
Peter is the founder, choreographer, and artistic director of Tau Dance Theater, and the first indigenous Pacific Islander from Hawai'i to become director of a professional dance company of western form. He was appointed by the mayor of Honolulu as the representative for dance on the Commission for Culture and the Arts. Peter is a five-time recipient of the Hawaii State Dance Council's Choreographic Award, the 1999 Baciu Award for cutting edge choreography. In 1997 he received an award for Excellence in Performance, and in 1996 he was the recipient of the prestigious State Foundation on Culture and the Arts' Individual Artist Fellowship for Choreography and Dance.
Andy Moro — Collaborating Designer
Andy is a multi-award winning Euro/Omushkego Cree designer based in Toronto. Andy co-creates and “designaturges” with companies across Turtle Island, including works in progress with Kaha:wi Dance Theatre in Toronto, Red Sky Performance at the Banff Centre, and the Gitxsan Dancers of Damelahamid in Vancouver. Andy has also been core creative faculty for the Indigenous Dance Residency at Banff since 2012 where he has co-created with Taane Mete, Neil Iremia, Jock Soto, Lina Cruz and more. Andy has twice been named among the Top Ten Theatre Artists in Toronto’s NOW magazine.
Sammy Chien — New Media Artist
Sammy Chien is a Taipei born, Vancouver based interdisciplinary media artist, director, performer, researcher and mentor who works with film, sound art, new media and dance/theatre performance. His work has exhibited across Canada, Western Europe, and Asia including Centre Pompidou (Paris), National Centre for the Performing Arts (Beijing).
Rebecca Baker Grenier — Regalia, Performer
Rebecca Baker Grenier is of Squamish and Kwakiutl ancestry. She is an accomplished Fancy dancer with over twelve years of experience. She has performed with the Dancers of Damelahamid in the recent productions of Flicker (2016), In Abundance (2014), and Spirit Transforming (2014) and has designed and created regalia for the company. Rebecca completed her BA at the University of British Columbia with her Major in the First Nations and Indigenous Studies Program. She was the Vice President of the UBC Indigenous Students Association from 2012 – 2014 and the Vice President of the First Nations Studies Students Association from 2014 – 2016. During her role with the student associations, she started and organized the Nehiyo-paskwa-itisimowan Pow-wow at UBC from 2013 – 2016. Rebecca was the instructor for the Manitobah Mukluks’ UBC Storyboot School, the Communications Assistant at the UBC First Nations House of Learning, the Research Assistant for the Native Youth Program, and the Education Coordinator Assistant for Thompson Rivers University, Lillooet.
Jeanette Kotowich — Performer
Jeanette Kotowich is a Vancouver based contemporary Aboriginal dance and performing artist and choreographer. She holds her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Simon Fraser University, BC. Jeanette is a seasonal dancer with Dancers of Damelahamid, Raven Spirit Dance, V’ni Dansi. As an independent artist and choreographer, she is currently creating a new work and collaborating with New Zealand based Māori choreographer Charles Koroneho (Te Toki Haruru),
and has worked with Vancouver based dance artist Deanna Peters (Mutable Subject). Jeanette coordinates for the Coastal First Nations Dance Festival, and is a member of the Full Circle First Nations Performing Arts Ensemble, the Indigenous Performing Art Alliance & a founding board member/secretary for Savage Society.
Nigel Grenier — Performer
Nigel has been a lead dancer and singer for the company since Sharing the Spirit (2007), and has carried this role in Visitors Who Never Left (2009), Dancing Our Stories (2010), and Spirit and Tradition (2010). Nigel’s ability to bridge ancient and current knowledge and training has played a vital role in the creation of the main character for the contemporary dance works Spirit Transforming (2012) and Flicker (2016). Nigel represented the Dancers of Damelahamid at the Australia Performing Arts Market Conference in 2016 and the World Indigenous People’s Conference on Education in 2017 and 2014. As a young storyteller, he placed first in the 2008 National Aboriginal Writing Challenge. Nigel has continued to pursue his interest in stories at university and holds a BA in the History Honours program from the University of British Columbia. He is currently completing Juris Doctor (J.D.) at the University of British Columbia with focuses in Indigenous law and Environmental Law. Nigel was on the committee for the Nehiyo-paskwa-itsimowan Pow-wow from 2014-2017. He worked with Indigenous youth at the MOA Native Youth Program, Musqueam Youth Program, and CEDAR Summer Camp.
Raven Grenier — Performer
Raven was trained from a young age by her grandparents Elders Kenneth and Margaret Harris. She performed in the productions Setting the Path in 2004 and Sharing the Spirit in 2007 and toured with the company to New Zealand in 2008 and to the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, China. She also performed in the productions Visitors Who Never Left (2009), Dancing our Stories (2010), Spirit Transforming in 2012 and 2015, and Flicker (2016). Raven is a dancer, singer and visual artist. Raven is an accomplished championship level dancer with the Nora Pickett Irish Dance Academy. Raven is currently completing her Bachelor of Arts at the University of British Columbia.
Kristy Janvier — Performer
Kristy Janvier is born and raised in Flin Flon and is of Aboriginal (Dene), Irish, and Ukrainian descent. At the age of 18 she began working overseas as a professional actress/dancer. After 15 years of working in the entertainment industry with Disney, Kristy sought out other forms of movement and dance. Upon returning to Canada, she has connected to her roots through contemporary-Indigenous dance. She had an opportunity to explore her research on water, the rivers, bloodlines and healing with the support of Young Lungs Dance Exchange in Winnipeg (winter 2016-17). She has attended 8 Days in Toronto (June) and performed at the Aberdeen Cultural Centre in New Brunswick (August), a solo work-in-progress with Free Flow in Saskatoon (September) and tour with Dancers of Damelahamid (October-November).
Cameron Fraser-Monroe — Performer
Cameron Fraser-Monroe is a member of the Tla’amin Nation in Powell River. He has a diverse artistic background, training in traditional grass dance, hoop dance, and theatre and stage before graduating from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. He has been performing across Canada and with the RWB in the Aspirant program, and is excited to join Dancers of Damelahamid this year.
Jeff Harrison - Technical Director
Jeff is a four-time Jessie Award winning lighting designer for his work on Carousel Theatre’s Pharaoh Serket & the Lost Stone of Fire, Patrick Street Theatre’s Floyd Collins, Pi Theatre’s Blasted and Arts Club’s Hand to God. He is a graduate of SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts, attended the Banff Centre for the Performing Arts and is a member of the Associated Designers of Canada.