Blood, Water Earth’s dramaturgical model is that of a traditional pottery vessel. It includes all of the elements, it’s representative of a womxn’s body, the roundness of the base is womb shaped and holds water and sustenance. The colour red represents blood, blood lines mediated by the female lineage, menstrual and birthing blood and the blood on the earth due to violence against Indigenous women. The performance pays homage to the missing and murdered womxn and their families at the same time accesses the strength, ancestral power of feminine deities associated with land and cosmos.
We acknowledge the lands where the videography and collaboration with Māori artist Louise Potiki Bryant took place: Karekare, Aotearoa and treaty lands of Six Nations. The premiere took place at the Onkwehon:we Festival in 2018 and has since toured to the Auckland Arts Festival and within Canada in 2019.
Photo by Andy Moro
SANTEE SMITH / TEKARONHIÁHKHWA – Artistic Direction/Concept/Design/Performer
Santee is a multidisciplinary artist from the Kahnyen’kehàka Nation, Turtle Clan, Six Nations of the Grand River, Haldimand Treaty Territory, Ontario, Turtle Island (Canada). Santee trained at Canada’s National Ballet School and completed Physical Education and Psychology degrees from McMaster University and a M.A. in Dance from York University. Santee premiered her debut work Kaha:wi – a family creation story in 2004 and one year later founded Kaha:wi Dance Theatre which has grown into an internationally renowned company. Santee’s artistic work speaks about identity and Indigenous narratives. Her body of work includes 14 productions and numerous short works. Her commissions include choreography for the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Canadian Opera Company, North American Indigenous Games, among others. She is the recipient of the K.M. Hunter Award; Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award; John Hobday Award; Hamilton Music Award for Kaha:wi; Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Choreography in the Dance for Susuriwka – willow bridge and a REVEAL Indigenous Arts Award. Her production Blood Tides received two 2019 Dora Mavor Moore Awards in Dance for Outstanding Production and Outstanding Performance Ensemble and The Mush Hole received five awards in 2020. Santee is a sought after teacher and speaker on the performing arts, Indigenous performance and culture, most recently at Citadel Theatre/Training Program, McMaster University and Stratford Festival. Her life and works have been the topic of TV series like the recent The Move II (CBC). Santee Smith is the 19th Chancellor of McMaster University.
LOUISE POTIKI BRYANT – Video Design
Louise is a Ngāi Tahu choreographer, dancer, and video artist. With her artistic practice, Louise aims to honour her whakapapa and relationship to the whenua. Her practice is also informed by kaupapa Māori (Māori principles and practices), mana wahine (the intrinsic spiritual power of women), and ātua Māori (deities/ancestors). Louise is a founding member of Atamira Dance Company for whom she has choreographed six works, including Ngāi Tahu 32, Te Aroha me the mamae, and TAONGA: Dust Water Wind. Louise has also choreographed for companies such as Black Grace Dance Company, The New Zealand Dance Company and Orotokare, Art, Story, Motion. Louise also has a body of solo and collaborative works which draw upon her whakaahua and interdisciplinary practices. She designs installations for her works, and is responsible for the design, production and editing of the projected video elements – an integral part of each performance. She has made seven dance and several music videos for Māori singer/songwriters as well as designing video for many music, opera and dance productions including three of Kaha:wi Dance Theatre’s recent dance works; Re-Quickening, Blood Tides and Blood Water Earth. Louise has undertaken several artist residencies including the Harriet Friedlander Residency awarded by the Arts Foundation of New Zealand, a residency which offered Louise a period of choreographic and artistic inspiration in New York City.
SHANE POWLESS – Live Stream Production/Technical Director
Shane is from the Mohawk Nation from Six Nations of the Grand River. He works as a videographer/photographer/editor/graphic designer/lighting technician/audio technician. Over the years, Shane has travelled extensively with various dance, theatre productions and musical groups providing the above services. His focus has been working within his Six Nations community, supporting our artists and cultural projects with organizations and artists such as: Woodland Cultural Centre, Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, Thru the Red Door, Six Nations Polytechnic Institute, Six Nations Council, Derek Miller Band, Logan Staats, Rochester Knighthawks, Lacey Hill, and more.
CRIS DERKSEN – Composer/Cellist
Cris is a composer/cellist and has performed from Norway to Australia. She is known for building layers of sound into captivating performances. Her 2015 Album Orchestral Powwow earned her an Instrumental Album JUNO nomination. Coming from North Tall Cree reserve in Northern Alberta her music braids the traditional and contemporary in multiple dimensions, weaving her traditional classical training and her Indigenous ancestry with new school electronics, creating genre defying music. As a composer she has earned respect in the many different arts communities for her versatility and movement between genres. She has scored for CBC’s 8th Fire and the 5th Estate, Documentaries – People of a Feather, and The Pass System, Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, as well as Summerworks Theatre Festival to name a few. She has performed with an array of musicians such as Buffy Sainte Marie and Tanya Tagaq.
BIINE ‘KWE ELIJAH – Live Singer
Biine ‘Kwe is Wolf Clan from the Oneida Nation of the Thames, Wolf Clan. She is a founding member of the contemporary singing group “Hatiyo” (The Good Voice). As an artist, Biine creates music in Oneida for performance but also to enrich language revitalization through song. Her previous work included songwriting workshops for youth programming at the Oneida Community Centre. As the Youth Project Coordinator Biine had the opportunity to produce content for the Indigenous Higher Education Pathway program – Indigenous Storytelling. Which included developing video content and a singing circle for students enrolled in the course. She has had the opportunity to present at multiple events including vigils for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, Residential School survivors, Stop The Framework: Ottawa, Powwow’s and many festivals in the Ontario region.
ADRIANA FULOP – Costume Designer (Corset and Skirt)
Adriana is a Slovakian born fashion and costume designer. In 1999 she moved to Toronto to pursue a carrier in fashion and costuming. In 2001, she started her own fashion label Plastik Wrap which led her into the costume design profession. In the last decade, Adriana has created costumes for many video and film productions, dancers, musicians, as well as; independent theaters and artists. Her client list includes Space Channel, APTN, Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, Bralen Dance Theatre, Indspire Awards and many others.
Board of Directors: Janis Monture, Danbi Cho, Paula Laing, Jessica Powless
Production: Kaha:wi Dance Theatre
Live Stream Production Credits:
Production: Kaha:wi Dance Theatre
Artistic Direction/Concept/Performer: Santee Smith
Video Designer/Editor: Louise Potiki Bryant
Live Singer: Biine ‘Kwe Elijah
Directors of Photography: Paddy Free, Louise Potiki Bryant
Costume Design: Adriana Fulop, Elaine Redding, Leigh Smith
Live Stream Production/Technical Director: Shane Powless (Thru The Red Door)
Music Composition: Cris Derksen
Additional Scoring: Adrian Harjo, Semiah Smith (vocals), Jennifer Kreisberg (vocals), Jo’el Komene (taonga pūoro), Paddy Free
Pottery Visuals: Steve T. Smith
Video Performers: Nancy Wijohn, Bianca Hyslop, Santee Smith
Sponsors: Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, Creative New Zealand.