A northern epic, Windigo resonates like a scream, a vibrant echo of the consequences of the violence perpetrated against Indigenous peoples. A post-apocalyptic ballad that exorcises demons.
Fierce and visceral, Windigo resonates like a scream, the vibrant echo of a long history of human ransacking and destruction, a violation of a land and its culture. Returning to her grandmother’s home in the Lac Seul Reserve in northwestern Ontario, the Canadian choreographer of Cree and Ojibwe heritage Lara Kramer confronts a latent war lurking under the surface. A northern epic with the air of a post-apocalyptic ballad, Windigo exorcises the demons and undercurrents of the violence perpetrated against Indigenous peoples.
Overlapped mattresses slashed, ripped open by a knife, mutilated. A mishmash of resurrected objects, a breath of life in death. A no man’s land of destruction where Peter James and Jassem Hindi form a duo of wandering vagabonds, survivors killing time and boredom, spewing out and sublimating their pain and suffering. A contemporary ceremonial, the piece plays with strong symbols, powerful metamorphoses and intense emotion, sowing the seeds of hope in the midst of overwhelming devastation.
Produced by Lara Kramer Danse
Choreography, Set, Sound and Costume Design Lara Kramer
Created with and perfomed by Jassem Hindi + Peter James
Sound Editing Lara Kramer + Marc Meriläinen
Outside Eyes Stefan Petersen + Andrew Tay + Jacob Wren
Lighting Design Paul Chambers
Coproduced by Festival TransAmériques + CanDance Creation Fund + National Arts Center (Ottawa) + Centre de Création O Vertigo (Montréal) + Dancing on the Edge (Vancouver) + Usine C (Montreal)
With the support of The Cole Foundation
Technical residencies Usine C + Centre de Création O Vertigo
Presented in association with MAI + Espace Libre
Written by Elsa Pépin
Translated by Neil Kroetsch
Premiered at Festival TransAmériques, Montreal, on May 31, 2018
Lara Kramer (Montréal)
Lara Kramer Danse
Lara Kramer is a choreographer and multidisciplinary artist of mixed Oji-Cree and settler heritage. Her critically acclaimed works portray the contrast of the brutal relations between Native peoples and colonial society, and have been presented across Canada and even in Australia.
These include Fragments (2009), inspired by her mother’s stories of being in residential school, and Native Girl Syndrome (2013), about how Native women have internalized trauma. Windigo can be viewed as its masculine counterpart, where trauma is externalized through different ages and bodies, individuals and objects.
Her work deals with the aftermath of cultural genocide. The 2017 installation and performance piece This Time Will be Different, created in collaboration with Émilie Monnet, denounced the status quo of the Canadian government’s discourse regarding First Nations and criticized the « national reconciliation industry ».
Based on a theatrical vocabulary and her Indigenous roots, Lara Kramer’s work employs narration and powerful imagery. Often blunt and raw, playing with the strengths and weaknesses of the human spirit, her pieces stand out for their engagement, sensitivity, close and instinctive listening to the body, and her attention to the invisible.
Her first appearance at the FTA consists of a double bill: the performance piece Windigo and the installation Phantom Stills & Vibrations, presented at MAI, works that plunge the spectator into the reality of the former Pelican Falls Indian Residential School in Sioux Lookout, Ontario. Three generations of her family were forcibly sent to the school. Kramer continues her denunciation of hidden realities, profound traumas that permeate the history of her people.