First Nations dance company Dancers of Damelahamid performed Spirit Transformation and In Abundance at the Capitol Theatre in Nelson last weekend.
Hailing from the northwest coast of BC, dancers shared story, song and dance distinct to their Gitxsan ancestry.
During the Sunday matinee In Abundance, dancers wore elaborate button blanket regalia distinct to their region and danced with ornate masks featuring frog, orcas, sea lion, bear, mountain goat, beaver, eagle, and raven.
Beaver. Derek Dix photo
The intricate masks featured opening and closing eyes for frog during the dragonfly dance and large bird, the flicker, could taste the air with a flick of its long, delicate tongue.
The main theme of In Abundance is based on the salmon cycle to convey the cultural teachings on balance community and sustainability. The salmon carved from cedar symbolize abundance, imparting that we should take only what we need, leaving plenty for all, including the salmon needed to spawn for the next year’s cycle.
Executive and artistic director Margaret Brenier, who also one of the predominant dancers, is one of Canada’s foremost practitioners and creators of aboriginal dance.
Brenier congratulated her daughter for her courage to perform a solo at the beginning of the performance. The company has performed for audiences across Canada and internationally.
This was the Capitol’s first show of this season’s Family Series.
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Executive and artistic director Margaret Brenier at a different dance performance. Ana Pedrero photo.