Living Ritual: World Indigenous Dance Festival Kaha:wi Dance Theatre presents performances by Rulan Tangen, Le-La-La Dancers and others, plus workshops, talks, collaborations, panel discussions and master classes. $23-$120, stu $23-$78. York University, 4700 Keele. www.livingritual.ca. Jul 14 to 16 Rating: NNNNN
WHO : Santee Smith, dancer and artistic director of Living Ritual
WHAT : Indigenous artists from across Canada, South America and Australia gather during the day in a conference-style event, then perform at night.
WHY LIVING RITUAL? "Living' because indigenous dance is alive, evolving and breathing; Ritual' because dance and song are embedded in cultural practices and in a way of life."
WHY YORK U? "The event evolved out my work with the World Dance Alliance there. Living ritual is presented by my company, Kaha:wi, in association with the Alliance."
WILL WE SEE TRADITIONAL DANCE? "The Le-La-La troupe from North Vancouver is bringing the Spirit Of The Masks Dance, and they'll be in traditional regalia, but we are also featuring avant-garde artists like Geatan Gingras."
HOW DO YOU ASSESS POP CULTURE'S RELATIONSHIP TO FIRST NATIONS EXPERIENCE? "There have been a lot of stereotypes of native stories, and only certain things get attention. Part of what we're trying to do with Living Ritual is to show the diversity and richness of native cultures."
WHERE IN TORONTO DO YOU FEEL MOST AT ONE WITH YOUR CULTURE? "I'm most at home in the dance studio. My experience is almost like living in two worlds. The city is a separate place from my home, which is First Nations, about an hour and half out of Toronto."
ANY FIRST NATIONS MUSICIANS YOU WISH WERE BETTER KNOWN? "David Maracle. He really connects to indigenous sound. He makes his own flutes and can create amazing animal sounds. Derek Miller's a wild blues man and so is Pappy John. His is the first indigenous blues band to play the Chicago Blues Festival."
FAVOURITE ALL-TIME MUSICIAN? "Prince. I love the passion and the soul."