Springboard Performance’s presentation of Vastadus eana, The answer is land is a visceral experience.

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Last week, Springboard Performance presented Vástádus eana / The answer is land, by Sami artists Elle Sofe Sara Company. The performance was one night only, as part of a series of gatherings that explored the inter-relationality between the body, the land, Indigenous artistry, and our future. The performance of Vástádus eana was a visceral experience, a humbling chance to be included in beauty and connection. It’s these kinds of performances that illustrate the power of dance performance.

Reimagining how live performance can unfold, this performance takes the audience outside to a performance by Clarence ‘Skip’ Wolf Leg Jr. His voice and drum open the performance as the audience stands in a circle around him. The performers of Elle Sofe Sara Company then enter to perform with megaphones, and there is something magical about being outside, gathering in a circle with other audience members, witnessing this blending of Indigenous artistic voices. The Sami artists yoik, which is the native Sami musical expression, and is reminiscent of singing. It is a multilayered musical expression that also has a practical purpose, such as calming reindeer. It also was an identity marker, as a young Smai could receive a yoik that followed them throughout their life.

The performance then moved to the Grand Theatre, a process of coming through the backway of the theatre which had significance that the audience and performers were a collective. The choreography by Elle Sofe Sara and yoiking were then on stage, filled with rhythm, and created with the themes of rebellion, community, and resistance. The dancers of Elle Sofe Sara Company have varying skill levels of movement, but their yoiking is hypnotic. They are costumed by Line Maher in black and traditional red hats. The stage was mostly empty, except for a fabric art piece that was in the centre of the stage and was illuminated in lights and felt almost alive.

What sets this performance apart from any other dance production I’ve seen isn’t the quality of technique of the dancers but the visceral, communal experience of the performance. It was an honour to be a part of this evening of art.

Stay tuned to future programming from Springboard Performance via their website.

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