Valley is a multi-layered and innovative dance work, choreographed and performed by Jeanette Kotowich. It is deeply tied to kisiskâciwan, the “fast flowing” landscape of Saskatchewan. A creative returning to land, body, and identity; the work unfolds out of the robust and undulating land of my grandmothers, mothers, and great-great grandfathers.
As a result of spending many of my childhood summers embraced by the Kah-tep-was valley, which is Cree for “river that calls” (now referred to as the Qu’Appelle valley “who calls”), the vast prairie and gently rolling landscape has echoed its lasting impression and whispered a language of inspiration.
Valley takes the audience on a journey, where traces are left behind as forward moving moments arise. Body, image, prop, and soundscape unravel through time and space, referencing the last continental glacial retreat some 14,000 years ago; cutting deep into the earth, depositing nutrient rich sediment, and leaving behind the valley’s characteristic meandering river. Native grasslands blanket the outer edge of the valley and salute the sun, while tree covered coulees snake into the slopes adding to their shade and protection. The 2-kilometer wide and 180-metre deep valley, as a sacred place calls generations of First Nations people for gathering, hunting, and spiritual replenishment.
It is on this panorama that First Nations people have survived for millennia, and where the solitary performer laments in familial loyalty of the past and present. Collaboratively directed by Jeanette Kotowich and Charles Koroneho, Valley is an inter-disciplinary expression of the journey to one’s self.
Jeanette Kotowich: co-collaborative director, choreographer, and performer
Charles Koroneho: co-collaborative director
Lighting Design: Jonathan Kim
Sound Engineer/ Sound Design: Wayne Lavallee
Band: Viper Central
*Previous contribution from Deanna Peters as ‘outside eye’
Canada Council for the Arts – Professional Development
SFU Woodwards – Alumni Dance Lab
BC Arts Council – Early Career Development