The artistic vision of Raven Spirit Dance Society is to create, develop and produce exceptional Aboriginal contemporary dance.
The moment of an impulse is the collision of inherited worldviews, traditional and urban cosmologies, and personal and collective histories. From this place, one dances and creates and it is how one arrives at an expression that is distinct. Raven Spirit values how indigenous expression is realized through contemporary dance in this way. It values creating an environment for dialogue and critique and values pushing the boundaries of the work and our cultural selves.
The artistic objectives of the company are essentially the creation and production of new dance work,
sharing this work with the community and supporting the development of the senior, mid-career and
emerging Aboriginal artists that work inside the sphere of the company.
We create, we share, we support and we connect.
The streams of activity of Raven Spirit Dance are:
I – The Creation of new work
Raven Spirit fosters an inclusive and diverse approach to creating new dance work. This philosophy bridges a wide array of realizations including contemporary aboriginal choreography, community-driven projects, multidisciplinary collaborations and work for young audiences.
Raven Spirit creates work with the ultimate intent of accessing the broadest possible presentation opportunities.
III – Training and Mentoring
Raven Spirit’s training and mentorship activities are formulated with the intent of providing artists the opportunity to make work in the creative field, as cultural workers fully invested in communicating, creating, performing and disseminating work as broadly as possible
Raven Spirit focuses on the creation and realization of outreach programs that take as their mandate getting people involved in their own creation and expression.
V – Advocacy
Raven Spirit is open to the widest manifestations of art making, but argues for practice that is culturally distinct and valuable.
Raven Spirit Dance’s creative process is strongly grounded in the idea that process is living inside of our bodies and that what is stored in our bones, blood, muscles and organs are images, stories and moods that speak to our specific perspective as an artist. Raven Spirit values that each artist that walks into the rehearsal room has their own inherent way of living in the work and this rich place is where we build our work from. This is a wonderful arena to generate work from and it does shift the power structure of the room. Even though, there are clearly defined roles in the room, Raven Spirit strives to share the power and ownership of the work being generated. Empowered artists equal an empowered community.
Past Accomplishments and Upcoming Projects
Raven Spirit has continued on its path of artistic growth, our future initiatives are based on the strength and success of past accomplishments. We continue to make dance that shares the stories that need to be told and that inhabits unique spaces in our community.
We are a Vancouver based company, yet we feel rooted in the territory of the Yukon. Our signature piece, Songs of Shär Cho , was created in the Yukon and played six seasons at the Danoja Zho Cultural Centre, as well had a national tour with CanDance’s Indigenous Dancelands. This piece set the tone for future work that came after it, allowing us to see the potential in our work and the scope in which it can travel. This next season we head back north to share new work and also be inspired again to create some more.
The shape of our work at times exists in unconventional spaces. An example of this is our recent collaboration with Neworld Theatre in a podplay/site-specific dance piece, Ashes on the Water. This work charted a way between text, image and movement, all of this existing in the space of Crab Park, a downtown eastside oceanside park. Continually being asked where is the dance in this and why it allowed us to uncover a strong movement language to share a powerful story. It also makes us confront our notions of what performance is and who is our audience.