Winter 2021 In Dance

making the program even more accessible than before. From March to November 2020, Dancing Earth held 100 online offerings during the Covid-19 pandemic to keep dancers teaching, people moving, and communities connecting. The organization closed out the year with BTW US Cyberspace , a six-episode series following a journey of healing and re-discovering ancestral knowledge. This was created by transforming the original theater production of Between Underground & Skyworld into digital perfor- mance art. During a time where we see political and social issues reaching a boiling point and brought into accelera- tion by a pandemic, performance art continues to evolve,

raise awareness and offer spaces of expression and release for individuals and collectives to process their experi- ences, thoughts and feelings. The field of Indigenous contem- porary performance arts has created opportunities and experiences that empower peoples. Youth who have attended workshops or performances by Dancing Earth have continued on to join the company, teach or create their own work. Like all things that grow and evolve there will be chal- lenges, highs and lows, but it is the passion, commitment and resiliency that keeps Dancing Earth in reflec- tion and renewal. Globally Indigenous peoples have demonstrated resilience for centuries, and that can be wit- nessed in their embodied expression as artists. To say it’s hard work would be an understatement, doing genera- tions of work undoing trauma, build- ing community and healing, so the future generations can dance free. As Dancing Earth begins their 18th year, addressing ecological and human- itarian messages, stories and calls to action remain central to their vision. Their journey has been one of innova- tion and as a new year begins expect to see Dancing Earth continuing to evolve, growing like the oak tree; branches reaching towards the sky, with roots still connected deep within the Earth. JADE WHAANGA an Aotearoa (NZ) based Indige- nous Dance Artist who hails from Ngati Kahungunu. Master of Dance Studies from the University of Auckland, Jade’s work focuses on empowerment, re-claiming the Indigenous feminine body and healing historical trauma through dance as ritual. She is also the founder of Nū Collective.

At Alcatraz

“ Groundworks disrupts settler-colonizer notions with con- temporary performance highlighting forgotten histories.” Tangen explains this piece like an oak tree, from which acorns drop, planting new seeds. From Groundworks Alcatraz many side projects bloomed such as Acorn Duet (made with support of Emily Johnson/Catalyst dance), ReIndigenize the Streets (a special event centering local Native artists - produced by Ti ś na Ta-till-ium Parker (Ahwahnee Miwok, Kucadikadi Paiute) and co presented by Dance Mission), and Chishkale (a short documentary film produced by Dance Mission). Ian Garrett (Toaster- Lab) produced media for this work and two years later contributed as a Technical Director and Visual Artist for Dancing Earth’s first online performance. s Fast-forward to 2020, in true artist resilience despite many challenges there was also groundbreaking inno- vation, adaptability, and transformation. In June 2020 Dancing Earth, presented by ToasterLab and produced by HowlRound TV, launched into cyberspace with their first online performance IF: Indigenous Futurities , expand- ing to include digital global creative collaboration and reach a global audience. At a time when artists were feel- ing the struggle of creating while in isolation, this project came at an essential time to bring global indigenous artists

together. “We come together as people from diverse back- grounds to make space of accountability and powerful calls to action,” explains Eugene Trey Pickett (Afro-Indig- enous/Cherokee). The organization doesn’t shy away from addressing difficult subjects and activating change. The cast explored finding the ways we are connected at a time of distancing, re-imagining possibilities of global cultural contemporary performance art in cyberspace and the ancestral knowledge and stories that can teach us about resilience in the remaking of the world. “One can’t assume they know everything, and this type of engagement with members of different communities is what brings us together and keeps us curious about the world we all live in,’’ says Lumhe Micco Sampson (Seneca/Mvskoke). IF: Indigenous Futurities provided a space for connec- tion, finding the meeting places between cultures, back- grounds, knowledge, understandings and communities. The company website describes the work: “Collaborating artist visionaries reveal cyberspace as a realm of ritual, to reimagine the future from the brink of collapse of the dom- inant system and re-emergence of cultural cosmologies.” Dancing Earth continued to evolve by presenting two online summer intensives, connecting Indigenous artists from around the world without the requirement of travel,


in dance WINTER 2021 46

WINTER 2021 in dance 47


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In Dance | May 2014 | I | | rs r . r

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