Kaha:wi Dance Theatre brings together dance and lacrosse

By Naomi Brand
  • Performers Danny Vyse, Shayne Martell, Jared Robillard, Vaughn Harris in The Creator's Game / Photo by Elizabeth Thipphawong

Kaha:wi Dance Theatre Artistic Director Santee Smith was commissioned to choreograph a new contemporary work combining lacrosse and dance. The Creator’s Game was a three-way co-production between Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, the O’Kaadenigan Wiingashk Collective and Public Energy for this year’s Ode’min Giizis Festival. The piece integrates movement from contemporary dance, traditional Haudenesaune (Iroquois) dance and the athleticism of lacrosse, while honoring the spiritual and cultural significance of the sport. The work was performed by a company of professional dancers and Six Nations lacrosse players with an original musical score composed by Derek Miller. Leading up to the festival, a ten-minute excerpt of The Creator’s Game was performed before a lacrosse game at the Peterborough Memorial Centre with over 3,000 lacrosse fans in attendance. “Our idea was to bridge, or weave together the sporting community with the arts community,” said Patti Shaughnessy, director of the Ode’min Giizis Festival. The final presentation of The Creator’s Game took place outside, as part of the Traditional Gathering of the festival and was free to the public. The Ode’min Giizis Festival is a multi-disciplinary indigenous arts festival that takes place in Peterborough, Ontario, each June around the time of National Aboriginal Day.

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