Aboriginal Arts Program
The Aboriginal Arts Program at the Banff Centre fosters inter-tribal, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary programs in Dance, Music, Theatre, Film/Video, Media & Visual Arts and Writing. They provide an environment where collaboration and partnership are integral to the development of new work: “As we look toward the next year, we will seek to further build and strengthen our partnerships with communities and other arts and culture organizations, and continue to develop innovative arts and culture programs founded upon the traditions and teachings of the Indigenous peoples of this land”.
One example of the work of the Aboriginal Arts Program is the Dance Training and Performance Program through which Aboriginal dancers and singers work with senior dancers/singers to enhance skills that range from strength and flexibility building to the fusion of traditional and contemporary dance forms coupled with the exploration of new technologies.
This year, up to thirteen dancers with modern and/or traditional Aboriginal dance experience and a community dance company will participate in dance training and production sessions that are designed to encourage and support interdisciplinary and intertribal exchange’.
Dancing Bodies, Living Histories: New writing about dance and culture attest to an instance of important cross-cultural learning with regards to the academic community, and the need to redress the parameters of working with/in community, “We still feel regret when we realize how wrong we were not to formally invite Marrie [Mumford] and Jerry [Longboat] into the conference program. We take it as a gracious sign from nature that a snowstorm made it possible for Marie and Jerry to speak. Our awkward experience with trying to include an Aboriginal presence in a very Euro-academic environment has been transformational, and we will know how to do it much better next time” (p. xviii). Chinook Winds: Aboriginal Dance Project, also published by the Banff Centre Press, offers an example of the intention behind the Aboriginal Dance Program, “By engaging us with songs and music, stories and images Chinook Winds explores connected, unified tribal voices of movement and dance languages ... It is a place to claim our voice, a manifestation of our will for self determination and original artistic direction. This is rebirth” (p. 9).