I am a professional contemporary dance artist and choreographer I began my career with In the Land of Spirits in 1992 and have been performing as an artist since then. I am Anishinabbe kwe from Friday’s Point on Lake Temagami in Northern Ontario. My latest piece, Maggie and Me, explores community, family, history, and the power of a healing dance as scenes weave through the dream realm, spirit realm and the present realm. The work marks the launch of my Production company: Friday Creeations; which combines traditional and contemporary dance elements. My father is Irish and Romanian; my mother is Algonquin and Cree. I am very connected to my native community and the cultural wellness of my people. I take pride in my family’s connection to the land and work hard to continue our traditions of hunting and ceremonies within our family territories.
I am a proficient, persevering and resilient professional Indigenous Contemporary dance artist. Since I was a little girl I have created dance performances, using choreography to perform and let go of whatever was going on in my life. I believe this is a way to work through the development and evolution of my own character as a person. I have always been a choreographer creating solo work, youth performances, and full- scale productions, and have been a guest choreographer for three Indspire award shows. Although I have achieved success in the mainstream dance scene, I continue to work continually with the development of youth in our First Nation communities. The inspiration for my choreography stems from my culture and life experience living on this earth as an Indigenous woman. I started in classical dance, moved into contemporary, dance and am now part of the pow-wow circle as a fancy shawl dancer working towards being a jingle dress dancer.
My intention is to awaken people within themselves, creating a shift change in the world by reflecting reality and the human experience. It is important for me to educate and share with others that our culture is strong and thriving in this century, throughout my career and the revitalization of our culture I have received and upheld many teachings. I create work in the present with roots and connection to the past. This is how I bring change in my life and to those connected to it. As we walk in our own truth, we must tell our own stories. This is our own story, a story not allowed to be told by others – and to walk in our own truth of who we are and where we come from, in order to correct history and to move forward together, we must create opportunity for our oral traditions and ceremonies to happen. We then become vibrant, significant and very much alive in this present day.
There is, without doubt, no mistake that I was born into my family as a dancer, performer, and storyteller to uplift and move negative experiences and forces to help my family overcome the effects of colonization and to take back our power and place on this land of our people. We as First Nations’ peoples have a powerful connection to the land. As keepers of the land it is our responsibly to look after our ancestors and prepare for our children. We need to witness the action of creating more opportunity in training and performance with an emphasis and focus on Indigenous arts. It’s time to look deeply to see what is out there, look to surprise and entice your audience with a variety of Indigenous perspectives, look for people who have a grassroots connection to the land, to their communities. We as First Nations people are as diverse as the landscape we come from. We must work together to create positive change, and by working together we heal ourselves, our families, our communities, our Nations. Maggie & Me shares how the story of a healing dance can strengthen communities and help us to better understand our own cultural experience within our own territories by linking stories, inspiration, and the origins of a dance. As a dance artist I have become a healer in my community and beyond. I am often asked to dance in honour of those who suffer as part of the transformation and revitalization of our culture.