Santee Smith, Artist-in-Residence with Monique Mojica
The Dance & Performance Institute is pleased to host Artist-in Residence, Santee Smith along with collaborator Monique Mojica from 28 September to 18 October 2014. Santee Smith will present her work, “NeoIndigenA”, each evening of COCO Dance Festival, to be held Friday. 3 October to Sunday, 5 October at Queens Hall in Port of Spain.
Photography by David Hou. Artistic Direction by Santee Smith.
Santee Smith is a mother, performer, an award-winning producer and choreographer. She is from the Kahnyen’kehàka (Mohawk) Nation, Turtle Clan from Six Nations, Ontario. Her dance journey began early and included attending Canada’s National Ballet School. She holds Kinesiology and Psychology degrees from McMaster University and a M.A. in Dance from York University. In 1996 the opportunity to choreography ignited her creative force and she produced her first major choreographic work, Kaha:wi in 2004. In 2005, Santee founded Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, a vehicle for her artistic work. Her artistic work speaks about identity and humanity. Her performances and collaborations have occurred in Canada, United States, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, France, Japan and Indonesia. Discovering her dancing body is Santee’s life long inquiry.
“As an artist, I hold performance in a sacred space, as it permeates socio-cultural interactions in my Kahnyen’kehàka heritage. Artistically, I explore the intersection of Indigenous dance forms and content with newly created movement language and performance. My work maintains fundamental Onkwehonwe understanding of music/dance, body and role of artist. Music and dance are celebrations of Life, the body is a vessel for the spirit and the artist is a cultural bearer. From this perspective, my work speaks about identity, contributing to contemporary Indigenous voice. I view my work as cultural activism, an affirmation of Indigenous contemporary existence, culture and worldviews.”
Santee’s three-week residency will focus on the creative development of an International Indigenous Women’s Performance Project with collaborator, Monique Mojica. “Together, we will mine cultural material and through this archeological digging process, aim to uncover old ways of “knowing”, negotiate the lines between tradition and contemporary, feed the spirits of Indigenous women who have suffered over the generations of colonization and acknowledge Mother Earth. Through our research, we will push the boundaries of contemporary Indigenous performance content and form”. Smith’s residency will include the following public events:
- Performance. ”NeoIndigenA”. Friday, 3 October. 6:30pm. COCO Dance Festival. Queens Hall in St. Anns, Port of Spain
- Master Class for COCO Dance Festival. Saturday, 4 October.1:30pm to 3pm. Onstage at Queens Hall
- Performance. ”NeoIndigenA”. Saturday, 4 October. 7:30pm. COCO Dance Festival. Queens Hall in St. Anns, Port of Spain
- Performance. ”NeoIndigenA”. Sunday, 5 October. 6:30pm COCO Dance Festival. Queens Hall in St. Anns, Port of Spain
- OPEN STUDIO I. Monday, 6 October. 10am -2pm. Creative Development of “International Indigenous Women’s Performance Project”. Cascade Studios. Cascade, Port of Spain.
- OPEN STUDIO II. Thursday, 9 October. 10am - 2pm. Creative Development of “International Indigenous Women’s Performance Project”. Cascade Studios. Cascade, Port of Spain.
Monique Mojica (Guna and Rappahannock) is an actor/playwright and artist-scholar passionately dedicated to a theatrical practice as acts of healing, of reclaiming historical/cultural memory and of resistance. Spun directly from the family-web of Spiderwoman Theater, her first play “Princess Pocahontas and the Blue Spots” was produced in 1990. She is the co-editor, with Ric Knowles, of Staging Coyote’s Dream An Anthology of First Nations Drama in English, vols. I & II. A co-founder of Turtle Gals Performance Ensemble, Monique has taught Indigenous Theatre in theory, process and practice at the University of Illinois, the Institute of American Indian Arts and at McMaster University. She founded Chocolate Woman Collective in 2007 to develop the play “Chocolate Woman Dreams the Milky Way” that premiered in June 2011 and was created by devising a dramaturgy specific to Guna cultural aesthetics, story narrative and literary structure. She was most recently seen on stage in the re-mount of “Chocolate Woman Dreams the Milky Way” presented by Native Earth Performing Arts and in the role of Goneril in the NAC’s production Of “King Lear”. Upcoming projects include “Side Show Freaks” and “Circus Injuns” co-written with LeAnne Howe and directed by Michael Greyeyes.
While in residency with Santee Smith, Mojica will lead the following public event:
- Artist Talk. Wednesday, 1 October. 6:30pm. The Philosophical Society at Studio 66 in Barataria.
Additional public offerings will be posted. To contact Santee during her residency in Trinidad, call the Institute at 321-1430. Visit Santee’s website here: http://w.kahawidance.org.