The Dancers of Damelahamid, in Flicker, try to open emotional doors for healing. (submitted)

VIDEO: Dancers of Damelahamid celebrate ancient first Nations Traditions with contemporary dance

West coast design, shadow dance and vibrant dance regalia: the stage becomes a mystical realm

The Cowichan Performing Arts Centre presents the Dancers of Damelahamid in a performance of their innovative multi-media dance piece Flicker on Sunday, Oct. 14, starting at 7:30 p.m.

Flicker is a First Nations contemporary work that captures ancient traditions through this dramatic dance, which features vivid, rich imagery.

Combining west coast graphic design through projected environments, live-action shadow dance and vibrant dance regalia, the stage is given a life-size feel that represents the mystical realm portrayed through coastal masked dance and the combination of intricate set design and choreography.

In this profound performance, Flicker tells the story of a young man who discovers his potential as he journeys through the world.

The flicker, a woodpecker from the northwest B.C. coast, is a transcendent figure often represented in coastal masks and carries cultural significance in coastal art forms.

Just as light shimmers, the audience follows the flicker over the mountain and through the forest as he encounters wandering souls, dancers, and mythical characters.

Through his cloak, the masked dancers cross through space and time, in and out of the “spirit world” of their ancestors demonstrating how to access true potential without limitation.

A link between First Nations traditions and more current forms, Flicker guides audiences on a journey to acquire ancestral gifts and strengthen capacity to create change and explores the diversity of dance and reflects the complexity of Indigenous identities.

The Dancers of Damelahamid, led by executive and artistic director, Margaret Grenier, are an Indigenous dance company of the Gitxsan Nation.

The Gitxsan, “people of the river of mists,” are part of the coastal group of cultures with a rich history of masked dance.

Grenier and the dancers are conscious of their role in fostering the ancient traditions of the Gitxsan First Nations peoples. She and her company aim to keep these traditions alive, but also redefine them so they continue to resonate with future generations and promote cross-cultural understanding of First Nations heritage.

Theatregoers are also invited to stay for a post-show chat with Grenier and Flicker dancers. The discussion will include Flicker’s intention as a powerful healing space for indigenous people and all Canadians to advance the ongoing process of reconciliation.

Tickets are $36 for adults with students and seniors getting in for $33.

Tickets are available in person at the Cowichan Ticket Centre or by phone 250-748-7529 or online at cowichanpac.ca.

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