DanceHouse and Dancers of Damelahamid present Elle Sofe Sara’s Vástádus eana — The answer is land, from Norway, on Feb. 23 and 24.
For centuries, the Sámi people ranged in territory that stretched from Norway to Russia, until policies of enforced assimilation stripped them of their traditional culture. Subjected to almost-total cultural obliteration, with residential schools, language suppression and religious conversion, the path back to a place of pride and identity has come through art.
Choreographer Elle Sofe Sara’s Vástádus eana — The answer is land works to undo cultural erasure.
Taking inspiration from a poem that foregrounds the relationship between the Sámi people and their homeland, Sara fashions a critically important message about the foundational attachment arising from community and culture.
At its heart is the concept of kinship, embodied in the seven women performers, who act not only as guides, bringing audience members into the theatre, but also create a living form of continuity and reclamation. Dressed in elements of traditional costume and armed with bullhorns, the performers combine ritualized movement with polyphonic yoiks, traditional mountain songs from composer Frode Fjellheim, meant to evoke different flora and fauna.
A manifestation of care and connection, Vástádus eana — The answer is land offers a return to dignity, healing and ultimately the possibility of a new relationship with the natural world.
Performances begin with an outdoor opening ritual, followed by an act of shepherding as the audience is led into the theatre, crossing the stage before finding their seats, as well as a pre-show talk.
Following the performance on opening night, audience members are invited to join staff and cast members for a reception in the Vancouver Playhouse salon.
Tickets to the show are available through DanceHouse’s website. One lucky winner will receive two tickets to the opening night of Vástádus eana — The answer is land on Friday, Feb. 23.
About DanceHouse and the Dancers of Damelahamid
DanceHouse connects Vancouver audiences and the local arts community to the international world of dance by presenting exceptional companies that are recognized for their excellence, innovation and international reputation. In addition to the performances on stage, DanceHouse offers a suite of engagement opportunities and a chance for members of the general public and the local artistic community to engage with the presented artists and their work.
The Dancers of Damelahamid is an Indigenous dance company from the northwest coast with a rich history of masked dance. The Dancers of Damelahamid has produced the annual Coastal Dance Festival since 2008, presenting Indigenous dance from the northwest coast as well as hosting guest national and international Indigenous artists.
Read more: Indigenous
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