TransMigration is a visually raw and engaging story inspired by the life and paintings of iconic Ojibwe shaman-artist Norval Morrisseau. TransMigration is a dialogue, a response to Morrisseau’s vision, struggles and brilliance as an artist. Vibrating with colour, energy, and sensuality, it is a reflection of humanity and the power of spirit to transform and transcend.
Inspired by Morrisseau’s display of vibrant colours and bold imagery, like many great artists, he lived as intensely as the images depicted in his paintings. His serpents that called from the underworld were tangible as was his own transformation into Thunderbird and Shaman. Like other founding indigenous contemporary artists, his work was a means to express identity, to reclaim strength, beauty and heal from colonialization. TransMigration dips into the brutal realities of life in the streets, homelessness, alcoholism and aftermath of residential school. A survivor, Morrisseau’s themes and imagery are a gateway from the mundane to the sacred.
TransMigration received 2 Dora Mavor Moore Award Nominations 2012: Outstanding Production and Outstanding Sound Design/Composition.
Co-production by Harbourfront Centre’s Planet IndigenUs
Presented as part of the NextSteps Series 2011/12
Artistic Director/Choreographer/Design/Performer: Santee Smith
Video Design: Andrew Moro
Lighting Design: Elaina Perttula
Costumes: Elaine Redding; Brenda Clark; Feathers N Fringe; Santee Smith, Leigh Smith
Executive Music Producer: Stevie Salas
Co-Music Producer: Rob Lamothe
Composition and Arrangement: Lou Pomanti
Composition: Cris Derksen; A Tribe Called Red; Adrian Harjo; David R. Maracle; “Buffalo Song” by Vince Fontaine; “Force” and “Burst” by Tanya Tagaq
Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, Miziwe Biik Employment and Training, Canada’s National Ballet School, and Harbourfront Centre, Harbourfront Centre’s Planet IndigenUS 2012, National Museum of the American Indian: Expressive Arts Award, K.M Hunter Foundation, Indigenous Performance Initiatives (Trent University) and private donors.
“…[R]ather than try to reproduce native dance styles in a theatrical format, Smith has built her reputation with choreography that evokes a native sensibility, its spiritual traditions and narratives, through an evocative fusion of ballet and contemporary dance.” – Toronto Star (2012)
“At times energetic and playful, athletic and visceral, the dancers’ movements become an extension of the paintings, embodying the visual energy, colour, and composition of the artwork.” – Toronto Standard (2012)
“With stunning visual elements, Smith’s choreography is thoughtful and animated, at times a living, breathing, and moving extension of Morrisseau’s visual language.” – Toronto Standard (2012)
TransMigration Trailer: https://vimeo.com/75237595
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