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A Song for Lost Sisters
Student dancers from Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute (DMCI) recently performed in a work honouring Canada's missing and murdered Aboriginal women.Over their winter break, the DMCI students went to the Graffiti Gallery to videotape a special dance performance with director Kayla Jeanson.
Sisters is set to the music of the Ottawa-based Indigenous DJ collective "A Tribe Called Red".
Choreographer and DMCI dance teacher Loa Olafson's intention was to honour the memory and deepen community concern for the women.
"The inspiration was to make a contemporary work that would raise awareness and hopefully spread some knowledge and concern for an important cause", Ms. Olafson said. "I've used A Tribe Called Red's music in the past and I just think they're so talented and they do lots of positive work for the Indigenous community in Canada and across the world".
The female students wore red dresses for the performance, the result of a connection with visual artist Jaime Black, who work the REDress project was recently installed at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The exhibit houses red dresses collected through community donations; the dresses serve as a symbolic reminder of the staggering number of women who are no longer with us.
Student Denisse Roque said dancing for the video offered unique challenges.
"We have to be more precise. People can play a video over and over again, not like a live performance," she said, adding that she felt an emotional bond to the work. "Most of the Aboriginal women that went missing and were murdered, they were our age ..... as dancers, we feel a connection to that."