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An Indigenous Dance Double Bill Luu hlotitxw: Spirit Transforming by Dancers of Damelahamid and NGS (Native Girl Syndrome)

An Indigenous Dance Double Bill  Luu hlotitxw: Spirit Transforming by Dancers of Damelahamid and NGS (Native Girl Syndrome)

An Indigenous Dance Double Bill
Luu hlotitxw: Spirit Transforming by Dancers of Damelahamid
and NGS (Native Girl Syndrome) by Lara Kramer
April 21 – 23, 2016 in Aki Studio

TORONTO, ON – Two transformations; two dramatically different outcomes. Native Earth Performing Arts, in partnership with DanceWorks CoWorks, presents an evening of Indigenous dance that explores a community’s influence on youth development. Featuring original works with distinctly different styles by Montreal-based Lara Kramer (Ojibwa/Cree) and Vancouver’s Gitxan-rooted Dancers of Damelahamid, the Indigenous Dance Double Bill runs Thursday April 21st to Saturday April 23rd in Native Earth’s Aki Studio.

The evening begins with a vibrant exploration of a traditional Pacific Northwest upbringing in the Gitxsan nation. Dancers of Damelahamid’s signature piece Luu hlotitxw: Spirit Transforming tells the story of a young Indigenous man who passes through trials and emerges transformed thanks to the assistance of the ever-present ancestors. Choreographed by Margaret Grenier, in collaboration with Nigel Grenier and the Dancers of Damelahamid, Spirit Transforming weaves traditional Gitxan masked dance and contemporary practices with modern technology to tell a story of re-birth. This transformative performance places animation and multimedia next to elaborate regalia and intricately-carved masks to lead us on a universal spiritual voyage.

The evening continues with the hard-hitting and very personal NGS (Native Girl Syndrome), an original work by Ojibwa/Cree dancer and choreographer Lara Kramer. NGS dives into street culture, as enacted in a raw theatrical performance by Karina Iraola and Angie Cheng, the interpreters instrumental in developing the piece. Iraola and Cheng’s drug-filled, disassociated personas take the audience on a dynamic journey of addiction, loss, and alienation. Inspired by the experience of Kramer’s grandmother who migrated from a remote First Nations community into an unfamiliar urban environment as a young woman, this powerful work explores the effects of cultural disorientation, assimilation, and the self-destructive behavior she endured.

Kramer’s contemporary and theatrical depiction of youth in a destabilizing urban environment hits even harder thanks to the striking interpretations by Bolivian-Spanish and Asian-Canadian dancers Karina Iraola and Angie Cheng (respectively). Developing NGS with Iraola and Cheng pushed Kramer to go beyond the story of her grandmother, and explore the far-reaching impact of colonialism and cultural displacement.

Contrastingly, Dancers of Damelahamid’s traditional movement, performed by dancers of Gitxsan and Cree decent in button blankets and cedar and alder masks, demonstrates the powerful transformation one can experience in the hands of a centuries-old culture from the Pacific Northwest coast of Canada. The juxtaposition of these two pieces in one evening highlights the potentially drastic and different outcomes for Indigenous youth in Canada.

Luu hlotitxw: Spirit Transforming
by Dancers of Damelahamid
Nightly at 7:00 PM

NGS (Native Girl Syndrome)
by Lara Kramer
Nightly at 9:00 PM

Aki Studio, Daniels Spectrum
585 Dundas Street East
Run Dates: April 21 – 23, 2016
Thursday to Saturday
Tickets are $25 per show or $40 for a Double Bill Package.
Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 416.531.1402

For more information visit

Connect with Native Earth Performing Arts!
FB/NativeEarth • @NativeEarth • NativeEarthInsta • #NEPAdance

Connect with DanceWorks! •

Native Earth Performing Arts is Canada’s oldest professional Indigenous theatre company. Currently in our 33rd year, we are dedicated to creating, developing and producing professional artistic expressions of the Indigenous experience in Canada. Through stage productions (theatre, dance and multi-disciplinary art), new script development, apprenticeships and internships, Native Earth seeks to fulfill a community of artistic visions.

DanceWorks began as a collective of independent dance artists in 1977 and has grown to become Toronto’s leading presenter of independent dance. DanceWorks offers seasons of eclectic, exhilarating choreography programmed to intrigue, challenge and enthrall. DanceWorks adds to the theatrical experience with Carol’s Dance Notes post-performance conversations with artists. DanceWorks is the administrator of the CanDance Network and Dance Ontario Association.

Dancers of Damelahamid are a professional Indigenous dance company from the Northwest Coast of British Columbia. The Gitxsan (“people of the river of mists”) are part of the coastal group of cultures that have the distinctive button blanket regalia. Their rich history of masked dance inspires a compelling performance, celebrating the diversity and time depth of the many beautiful Indigenous cultures across Canada. Through dramatic dance, captivating narrative, intricately carved masks and elaborate regalia the Dancers of Damelahamid transform time and space, and bridge the ancient with a living tradition.

Lara Kramer (Ojibwa/Cree) is the Choreographer and Artistic Director of Lara Kramer Danse, based in Montreal. Kramer is a First Nation choreographer whose work is intimately linked to memory and her Indigenous roots. Her work is political and potent. Political issues surrounding Canada and First Nations Peoples. Kramer has been recognized as a Human Rights Advocate through the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre. In 2014, OFFTA, Montreal’s live arts festival, gave Lara Kramer the first Bourse a l’audace-Caisse de la Culture for NGS (Native Girl Syndrome).

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MUSKRAT Magazine

MUSKRAT is an on-line Indigenous arts, culture magazine that honours the connection between humans and our traditional ecological knowledge by exhibiting original works and critical commentary. MUSKRAT embraces both rural and urban settings and uses media arts, the Internet, and wireless technology to investigate and disseminate traditional knowledges in ways that inspire their reclamation.

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