Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation is a production that expresses the stories and the voices of the survivors of Indian Residential Schools. Going Home Star is a ballet that tells the story of Annie, a young contemporary First Nations women who is working in the city in a hair salon. She then meets Gordon, a seemingly homeless Firs Nations man and a residential school system survivor.
Annie and Gordon share a connection. She has dreams about him and it causes her to not be able to concentrate at work, as she mixes up coffee and bleach while at the hair salon. During her commute she finds a wallet and when the owner comes back for it, he is a little aggressive towards her. After these scenes, Annie is open to hearing Gordon’s story about the Indian Residential School he went to.
Gordan tells of two First Nations children Niska and Charlie and their ill treatment by the hands of the Clergyman and the Residential School System. There are stories of rape, hair shearing and more violence. The ballet then goes on to tell how Gordan tries to find peace after this abuse.
Going Home Star features choreography by Mark Godden and beautiful set design by Pierre Lavoie and projection design by Sean Nieuwenhuis. The accompanying music performed by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra featuring Tanya Tagaq and Steve Wood adds a richness to the dancing and the narrative.
Godden’s movement features some great lifts and served to express the pain of the characters in the narrative. Going Home Star is a little overt in its delivery of the story and doesn’t spend too much time going into depth of movement and chooses to stay on the surface of the story. It winds up being a simple telling.
Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation was a one time performance at the Banff Centre. More information on the Banff Centre’s programming can be found here.
Photo Credit: Rejean Brandt Photography