WATCH: Dance Victoria kicks of its 10-day Dance Days Festival with the Dancers of Damelahamid. Veronica Cooper reports.
Now in its 21st year, Dance Victoria offers a variety of exciting, compelling performances.
“We bring international dance companies and Canadian dance companies to the Royal Theatre and to the McPherson Playhouse,” says Dance Victoria‘s executive producer Stephen White.
This season, one of the highly-anticipated performances was Dancers of Damelahamid.
“Dancers of Damelahamid actually kicks off our 10-day Dance Days Festival, which is on currently, with free classes in all kinds of styles, all over town,” says White.
White explains that through the performances and the classes, Dance Victoria hopes to reach out to the community.
“And make them feel like dance is accessible to them, because I know there’s a lot of people that think that dance is something beyond them but they can’t figure it out so we do as much as we can to educate folks on that,” White says.
Margaret Grenier is the executive and artistic Director of Dancers of Damelahamid’s Flicker.
“Dancers of Damelahamid is an Indigenous dance company that was founded a few decades ago, actually in the 1960s, after the potlatch ban had been lifted,” Grenier says. “There was a lot of work that took place at that time that really focused on the revitalization of song, and dance, and all of the practices that go along with it.”
White says the work Dance Victoria does likely wouldn’t be possible without the Victoria Foundation.
“We had a very special project with the Victoria Foundation’s support this year and because of their support, we were able to bring our friends from the Songhees Nation to this Indigenous dance performance,” he says.
Grenier says that Flicker has been “a really transformative piece for us.
“There is a sense of what the importance is for the dancers,” Grenier says. “It’s something that is more than just creating a piece to be shared. It’s something that is very integral to the connection to language, connection to…home territory and also about bridging understanding within the diversity that we have ? our many, many First Nation communities here on the west coast, and also just what that opens for the wider community as well.”