In this section, we present statements by six Indigenous choreographers writing on and situating their own work, in their own words. Each focuses on a particular recent endeavor. A biography of each author is presented below. Also, I asked the contributors to begin their statements by introducing themselves the way they would if they were in a room full of the readers of this journal, and about to give a statement about their work.
Daystar/Rosalie Jones's (email@example.com) career spans fifty years, during which time she taught throughout the United States and Canada to encourage and promote the development of Indigenous talent in the performing arts. Born on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana, she holds a master's degree in dance, University of Utah, with postgraduate work at Juilliard School, NYC. In 1980 Rosalie Jones founded Daystar: Contemporary Dance Drama of Indian America, which has toured North America, Ireland, Finland, Bulgaria, and Turkey. Thirty choreographic works include Wolf: A Transformation (Anishinaabe) and the scripted dance-dramas Legacy of the Dream and No Home But The Heart. The NEA awarded her the prestigious Individual Choreographer's Fellowship in 1997; 2004 saw the creation of a Daystar archive at UC-Riverside. Daystar/Rosalie Jones is a published author and considers her primary mentors to be Jose Limon and Barry Lynn. Currently, Daystar teaches curriculum she developed since 2005 for Indigenous Performance Studies at Trent University (Ontario).
Rulan Tangen (firstname.lastname@example.org) is Founding Artistic Director/Choreographer of DANCING EARTH, which recruits and nurtures new generations of Indigenous contemporary dance artist-leaders. Her work values movement as an expression of indigenous worldview—honoring matriarchal leadership, dance as functional ritual for transformation and healing, kinetic decolonization, and animistic energetic connection with all life forms. Her work spans dance, film, opera, circus, social-environmental justice advocacy, writing, and education, including Visiting Distinguished Scholar at Washington University, Stanford University's Institute of Diversity in the Arts, and Guest Artist/Lecturer and residency appointments including UC Riverside, UC Berkeley, Ft. Lewis College, and Trent University, Canada. Her honors include selection as top-ten finalist across all disciplines for Nathan Cummings Award for Social Change, Arts and Healing Network ‘s Arts for Social Change Award, Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Dance Fellowship for Artistic Innovation, and Costo Medal for Education, Research and Community Service.
Tanya Lukin Linklater's (email@example.com) works have been exhibited/performed at EFA Project Space (NYC), Museum of Contemporary Art Santiago (Chilé), SBC Gallery (Montreal), Western Front (Vancouver), Images Festival + Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (Toronto), and elsewhere. Her writings have been published in C Magazine, BlackFlash Magazine, Access Gallery, Yellow Medicine Review, Drunken Boat, and McLaren Art Centre, among others. Tanya studied at University of Alberta (M.Ed.) and Stanford University (A.B. Honors). She is currently a doctoral student in Cultural Studies at Queen's University. She is Alutiiq from Port Lions and Afognak in Alaska and makes her home in northern Ontario, Canada.
Rosy Simas (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an enrolled member of the Seneca Nation. She is a dance maker and teacher based in Minneapolis. Simas is a 2015 Guggenheim Choreography Fellow. She has been honored by the Native community with a 2013 Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Dance Fellowship; awards from TIWAHE Foundation (2014) and the First People's /Fund (2014); and residencies at the Indigenous Arts Program at Banff Centre (2012); IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (2014); the Oneida Arts Program (2001, 2003, 2010), and the Talking Stick Festival (2013, 2014). Simas's solo, We Wait in the Darkness, is touring throughout the United States with support from the New England Foundation for the Arts National Dance Project and the Minnesota State Arts Board. She is currently developing Skin(s), a dance work supported by the National Presenters Network Creation Fund and commissions from Intermedia Arts (Minneapolis), EastSide Arts Alliance (Oakland), and LaPeña (Berkeley).
Jack Gray (email@example.com) a founder of Atamira Dance Company, and he has contributed to this platform for Maori contemporary dance theater since 2000. His major work Mitimiti (2015) recently premiered at the Tempo Dance Festival in Auckland, New Zealand. Internationally a freelance choreographer, teacher, writer, and facilitator, Jack has held guest professor roles at University of California–Berkeley and University of California–Riverside, and artist-in-residence posts at New York University, Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, and Santa Fe Arts Institute. Working primarily with First Nations and Indigenous communities, Jack has instigated the Cultural Informance Laboratory at UC Berkeley, the Lenapehoking Transformance Laboratory at the Asia/Pacific/American Institute in New York, the Bay Area Transformance Laboratory at California State University East Bay, and “How We Show Up” at the Indigenous Choreographers at Riverside Project at the Culver Center of the Arts in Riverside, CA. Jack's published articles appear in Biography, Kowhiti Atarau, Theatreview, Explore.com, and Danz Magazine.
Emily Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Bessie Award winning choreographer based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and New York City. Her dances function as installations, engaging audiences within and through a space and environment—interacting with a place's architecture, history, and role in community. Emily received a 2014 Doris Duke Artist Award; her work is currently supported by Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, Creative Capital, Map Fund, a Joyce Award, the McKnight Foundation, and The Doris Duke Residency to Build Demand for the Arts. Emily was a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Minnesota 2013–2014 and was an inaugural 2014 Fellow at the Robert Rauschenberg Residency. With her collaborators, she recently completed the third in a trilogy of works: The Thank-you Bar, Niicugni, and SHORE.