Visual Art Exhibition

Exhibit at the Scotiabank Dance Centre,  main lobby, 677 Davie Street, Vancouver.

The photographs on display are results from a collaborative process between Body Narratives Collective, V’ni Dansi’s Louis Riel Métis Dancers and The Dance Centre. Photographed from an eagle-eyed perspective above the dancers they are long-exposure light drawings of pathways jigged in traditional and contemporary styles of Métis dances, square dances and reels.



The eight Louis Riel Métis Dancers who created these light traces are: Yvonne Chartrand, Eloi Homier, Julia Carr, Evan Ducharme, Justin Ducharme, Jeanette Kotowich, Anne Maia Raanes Sørensen and Lyric Tsuji. The lights were worn on the tops of their heads (except where specified in the titles).

Each photographic piece has a title. The titles are quotes from the knowledge keepers who originally taught the dances to V’ni Dansi’s Artistic Director, Yvonne Chartrand. These quotes are calls that describe the segment of the dance captured through the long-exposure photographic process.

Red River Special (Intro) – Choreography: Yvonne Chartrand

“Open the gates and let them in” –Jeanne Pelletier

“On with the dip” – Jeanne Pelletier

Excerpts (elbow swing and Merry go Round- Marvin Smoker) from Reel of 8

“Ladies cross with their lily-white hands, men bow ‘cause you know how, spin ‘em around like a merry-go-round.” – Phil Lavallée

Dancers: Jeanette Kotowich, Justin Ducharme, Lyric Tsuji, Julia Carr

“Duck n’ dive in the ocean wave, you go over, they go under, over under, under over” –Jim Twain

“Allemande left and grande chain” (lights on left wrist)

V’ni Dansi holds the distinction of being the only company in Canada to teach and perform both Métis and contemporary dance. Based in Vancouver, the Company is dedicated to preservation and innovation in sharing the dances, stories and culture of the Métis. Led by Artistic Director Yvonne Chartrand, the dancers perform Métis jigs under the name- the Louis Riel Métis Dancers, and contemporary works as V’ni Dansi.

Traditional Métis jigging preserves the historical dances of generations ago; such dances include: The Red River Jig (up to 100 steps), traditional dances such as La Danse du Canard, La Danse du Krochet, Métis Square Dances and Reels with calls. These traditions stem from First Nations dances while also embodying the elegance of the European historical dance influence. This fusion ultimately became the unique style of Métis dance. This traditional form was passed on to Artistic Director, Yvonne Chartrand, through mentorships with Métis Elders and knowledge keepers making her knowledge of the old ways a valuable cultural legacy that must be preserved.

Contemporary Métis jigging modernizes traditional forms yet still pays homage to the cultural roots of each dance. This newer form of cultural expression is not limited to jigging but includes square dances and reels. These styles are performed with rigorous full-body movement, square dance outfits and are prevalent at most Métis festivals. – V’ni Dansi

Thanks to Meghan Goodman, Tim Matheson, and Dance Centre staff: Chengyan Boon, Theo Bell & Raquel Alvaro for their technical support.

BNC exhibits at the Scotiabank Dance Centre,  main lobby, 677 Davie Street. Ongoing exhibit celebrating International Dance Day from April 29th to July 2015.

The images were created during research for Body Narrative Collective’s (BNC) first full length performance event Dark Room: the realm of symbols, science and memories.

Dark Room explores the use of photographic techniques as a performative medium integrated with dance, music, text, and technology in the theatre.  The artists devised a system to create mural sized photograms during performance similar to the digital representation you see on display. A photogram is a photographic image that does not use a camera.  It’s only requirements are: photographic paper, a darkroom and chemistry.

Dark Room allowed BNC to share discoveries in how photography can change the way we experience life, light, time and the dancing body.

Images (from left to right):

Human Nature (double exposure of leaves and subject Meghan Goodman with branch) created during the Scotiabank Dance Centre’s DanceLab program in 2010-2011. Inspired by the work of photographer Martha Madigan.

Do you remember the moment? created during first live performance integrated with dance as part of the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts theatre-under-the-gun project “7”, September 2012.

Julia with bird mobile created during the Scotiabank Dance Centre’s DanceLab program in 2010-2011. Inspired by the work of photographer Kunie Sigiura.


Body Narratives takes down WINDOW installation at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre. Exhibition from November 20th, 2013-January 4th, 2014. Documentation of the installation & take down:












Open Walls Photography Show and Sale:

BNC has been invited to showcase 6.5ft x 3.5ft Photogram: Human Nature I (see facsimile above) in a group photography show and sale at the Northwest Culinary Academy (2725 Main Street) Saturday November 17th, doors at 10am, reception at 6pm.  One day only!

More details…

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