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Aaniin, my name is Olivia and it is my pleasure to invite you to experience Contemporary Indigenous dance from Canada with a selection of three films conceived and created in response to the living body that is the lands and waters of Turtle Island. Each of these works bring forth the artist’s unique vision along with their embodied search for connection to the natural world. As witness, you are invited to share the artist’s experience of living in a post-colonial time-space where truth is revealed and healing can be found in the wind, water, trees, and earth beneath our feet. Each creator has woven their own voice through their film with an element of storytelling that serves to bridge the dancing bodies with rolling landscapes and concrete cityscapes that carry the echoes of time immemorial.

Starr Muranko’s sacred journey to the spaces across Coast Salish territory that shaped her way forward into the future is shared in her film, Chapter 21 – Dancing on the Land. In Sophie Dow’s film, Medicine Duets, the restless energy of youth is transformed into a powerful ritual and heart salve for the experience of seeking connection to culture. In ‘XwayXway Swoon’, I share the love I feel for the great mothers who remain firmly planted with their roots deep into the earth even after the almost clear-cut destruction of their surrounding forests; an homage to the giantesses who give life to so many other plants and animals in their environments and whose beauty and generosity transforms the spaces where they continue to grow.

From my heart to yours, I hope you enjoy your experience of these creations as part of the Birmingham International Dance Festival 2022 Screendance programme.

Miigwech (Thank you)

Reflections on a Chapter: An Offering to the Land That Held Me by Starr Muranko, Raven Spirit Dance

Chapter 21 explores what happens when a vibrant, active artist comes face to face with a crippling collision of events. Chapter 21 is a reflection on the days that have come to pass, and the art of becoming. A new baby boy; Chromosome 21; the big “C” diagnosis, 21 days between treatments, and 21 days to re-pattern beliefs; Courage; Faith; Resilience.


Choreographed and Performed by: Starr MurankoFilmmaker & Editor: Sophia Mai WolfeVideographers: Yasuhiro Okada & Sophia Mai WolfeMusic Score: Edgardo MorenoMentor: Alvin TolentinoProduced by: Raven Spirit Dance

Commissioned by the National Arts Centre as part of the Dancing the Land video series

Filmed on the unceded, Ancestral and Traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples, included the territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-waututh) First Nations.

Medicine Duets by Sophie Dow

Medicine Duets is a ritual, illustrated through dance, text and music. We follow an individual that falls into a chaotic haze, losing sight of balance and stillness. This solo mover is a symbol of both independent and collective consciousness.

They’re a representation of all we go through on micro and macro scales; a testament to the cycles of the building, tearing down and rebuilding of humanity. From the dark place, the individual calls upon the ancestors and wisdom of Turtle Island to journey together – a moving alliance, between human and internal mountain – reminding us of our deeply rooted strength, resilience and reciprocity to each other and Mother Earth.


Choreography: Sophie Dow in collaboration with interpreters

Cinematography & Editing: Connie Oreamuno

Interpreters: Maria Lucia Llano, Paige Sayles, Tyra Temple-Smith, Sophie Dow

Sound & Text: Sophie Dow & Deya Dova

Costumes: Clayton Lormand & Sophie Dow

Mentors: Aria Evans, Jessica McMann, Karen Kaeja, Brian Solomon

Past & contributing interpreters: Shannon Flaicher, Angela Xu, Maisie Ryan, McKenzie Foy

“X̱wáýx̱way Swoon ~ A Love Song” by Olivia Davies

About Olivia

Olivia C. Davies is a Canadian Contemporary Indigenous dance artist who creates and collaborates across multiple platforms including choreography, curation, conversation, film, and sound design to share stories that open new ways to experience the world. Davies’ body of work spans three decades with creations and collaborations that explore the emotional and political relationships between people and places, often investigating the body’s dynamic ability to transmit narrative, blood memory, and a neo-traditional Indigenous perspective. In 2018, she founded O.Dela Artsand Matriarchs Uprising Festival. She honours her mixed-blood ancestry as an Algonquin Anishinaabe-KwewithFrench-Canadian, Finnish and Welsh heritage.

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