Red Sky at night

World pre­miere of Trace at Berke­ley Street The­atre this month

Bayview Post - - Currents -

The Pleiades are a clus­ter of ce­les­tial bod­ies con­tain­ing mid­dleaged, hot B-type stars. It is lo­cated in the con­stel­la­tion of Taurus. But the Anishi­naabe peo­ple know it by an­other name, the Seven Sis­ters. And it was in this con­stel­la­tion that hu­mankind was born.

Delv­ing into In­dige­nous cos­mol­ogy and ori­gin sto­ries is the back­drop for the lat­est pro­duc­tion by ground­break­ing Toronto dance com­pany Red Sky Per­for­mance.

Trace gets its world pre­miere this month as part of the Cana­dian Stage sea­son. It runs from Nov. 1 to 11 at the Berke­ley Street The­atre.

“I was think­ing about what our ori­gin story is, where we come from and how dif­fer­ent cul­tures look at that,” says San­dra Laronde, the founder and cre­ative di­rec­tor at Red Sky.

“The In­dige­nous per­spec­tive is very sim­i­lar to the big bang the­ory, only it’s a big bang with a pur­pose be­hind it.”

Laronde also wanted to ex­plore the idea of trace, trac­ing an out­line, and trac­ing things back to their ori­gin.

For her, Laronde grew up in a cre­ative fam­ily of artists and mu­si­cians from the Te­meAugama-Anishi­naabe in Temagami, On­tario — a land that is home to 1,600 is­lands, thou­sands of kilo­me­tres of shore­line and ap­prox­i­mately 500 peo­ple.

It’s a land that piqued her imag­i­na­tion and con­tin­ues to in­form her work to this day.

Last sea­son for Cana­dian Stage, Red Sky pre­miered Back­bone, in­spired by In­dige­nous car­tog­ra­phy.

“I am deeply in­spired by the trans­for­ma­tional power of na­ture, and I mean that in a very elec­tric way as op­posed to how we of­ten per­ceive na­ture,” she says.

Trace will fea­ture six dancers and three mu­si­cians ac­com­pa­ny­ing with an orig­i­nal score.

Red Sky is known for its very phys­i­cal and sump­tu­ous per­for­mances, and Laronde says this will once again be the case. But, new this time around is an ex­panded use of light­ing and video, which she says will be much more an­i­mated and three di­men­sional.

Laronde founded the com­pany 18 years ago and has be­come one of the cen­tral voices in a bur­geon­ing In­dige­nous cul­tural re­nais­sance grow­ing by the day.

“Some of the most ex­cit­ing artistry coming out of Canada is be­ing cre­ated by In­dige­nous peo­ples in a lot of dif­fer­ent artis­tic forms,” she says.

“When you look at what is deeply Cana­dian and what is deeply in­spired by this soil, it comes from In­dige­nous peo­ples. We are not out to im­i­tate a form. We re­ally want to find a new way, which is re­ally a very old way.”

For ticket in­for­ma­tion, go to Cana­di­anstage.com.

Red Sky is known for its phys­i­cal per­for­mances

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