Flicker, directed by choreographer and performer Margaret Grenier, is a multi-media dance piece performed by Vancouver-based Indigenous dance company, Dancers of Damelahamid of the Gitxsan Nation. The Gitxsan, “people of the river of mists”, are part of the coastal group of cultures renowned for their history of masked dance. Here, Margaret Grenier talks about her creative process, collaboration, and the protagonist’s journey in Flicker.
Flicker tells the story of a young man’s journey. Can you tell us about this journey?
The main character’s journey reflects the challenges that shape who we are and strengthen our ability to overcome limitations. In the opening sequence the young man prepares for this journey through purification. This enables him to be open to all that he encounters on his journey. It is necessary to make ourselves both vulnerable and strong to truly learn from the things that challenge us. This defines our capacity for change within, and then what we can offer to others.
Flicker links the artistic practices of Indigenous dance and contemporary movement, with multi-media technology. Can you describe the creative process for Flicker and how you connected these elements?
Flicker takes us on a journey where the main character navigates his way through various landscapes and environments. Our company collaborated with multimedia designer Andy Moro who worked closely with Andy Grenier to develop the projected landscapes for Flicker. Narrative is integral to the Coastal dance form, which is rich with form-line graphics, carvings, regalia, and sets, to support the telling of the narrative. Working with Andy Moro brought one more element into the dance piece to support the narrative and provide context for the audience. While the movement is integrally rooted in the Coastal dance form, we opened up the structure to make space for the dancers to interact with the mediums in non-conventional ways.
Is there a particular section in the piece that was challenging to choreograph/create? If so, why?
The dance piece was created working closely with each of the dancers in order to reflect each person’s unique identity and dance training, resulting in short solos integrated into the dance piece. This was done so that the choreography could reflect the diversity of voices that individual Indigenous people have to offer. This was challenging because our company had never approached choreography in this way before. The movement of each of the dancers reflects more than the Coastal dance form, integrating steps from Pow wow and contemporary perspectives.
Thank you for sharing your insight, Margaret.
Dancers of Damelahamid runs February 9 – 10, 2018 at 8pm at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre. Tickets are available at the Box Office. There is also a Student Matinee on Friday, February 9 at 12:30pm at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre. Tickets to the Student Matinee are available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.