Banff Centre premieres Canada/New Zealand aboriginal dance collaboration

Dance in Banff

Jill Sawyer,



Two international Indigenous dance companies have come together this summer to premiere a new work that explores memory, the cycle of life, and journeys across boundaries. Developed as a collaboration between Toronto-based company Red Sky and New Zealand’s Black Grace, Migration brings together dancers from opposite sides of the globe, blending cultures and a unique mix of traditional and contemporary dance. The work will have its world premiere July 15 in The Banff Centre’s Margaret Greenham Theatre.


Neil Ieremia, Artistic Director for Black Grace, has twice been an artist in residence with the Centre’s Indigenous Dance program. This summer he’s brought his company of dancers to Canada from New Zealand to develop this new work, collaborating directly with Sandra Laronde, who conceived the project, She is both the Artistic Director of Red Sky Performance and Director of the Centre’s Aboriginal Arts programming. Migration will be presented by dancers from both companies and will feature live music, textured lighting and original costumes. The dancers come from Canada, New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa and Mexico.


Winner of a 2011 Smithsonian Institute Expressive Arts Award and a 2010 Dora Mavor Moore Award, Red Sky is Canada’s leading contemporary Indigenous performance group. Red Sky has created original work in music, theatre, and dance including; Shimmer, Raven Stole the Sun and Tono, which was performed at both the Beijing and Vancouver Cultural Olympiads and opened for Canada at World Expo in Shanghai. The company was founded by Sandra Laronde in 2000. Since then, they’ve traveled to four continents, and partnered with artists from indigenous cultures around the world, including Mongolia, China, Australia, New Zealand, and Mexico.