Ondinnok Productions’ performance of Tlakentli comes to Vernon Jan. 30. (Ondinnok photo)

Dance stages Indigenous identity quest in North Okanagan

Tlakentli merges dance and theatre with two artists from Mexico, of Nahua and Mixteco descent

A colourful voyage of dance and theatre merged with Indigenous language and myth takes the stage.

The Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Society presents Ondinnok Productions’ performance of Tlakentli Thursday, Jan. 30 at 7:30 p.m. By special arrangement, this performance has been added to the Society’s 2019-20 Spotlight Season’s Special Presentations series.

Pronounced “T-la-KENT-lee”, this one-hour piece successfully merges dance and theatre, as two Indigenous artists from Mexico, of Nahua and Mixteco descent, share with us their quest for identity by drawing on their cultures and the history of their ancestors. The duo present scenes of their metamorphoses through time, revealing the upheavals and constantly driven by the hope of finding themselves.

Languages and myths propel this inevitable voyage that re-draws borders and casts off the hides adopted both freely and forcibly. Revealing that which unites us and that which tears us away from each other and ourselves, Tlakentli considers the issue of identity in relation to migrations and explores the myth of our original elegance.

“Tlakentli shares with us the deep rooted historical stories that have survived the many generations who hold the culture closely. This story highlights the importance of resilience and celebrates the resistance that many indigenous cultures face around the world with colonial suppression. This piece of work is not only educational but extremely brilliant in merging the world of dance, theatre, culture, and language,” said Justin Many Fingers, Making Treaty 7’s Artistic Director, in Broadway World.

Tlakentli, has been performed at Place des Art in Montreal and in Calgary at The Grand, in collaboration with Making Treaty 7. Tlakentli plays in Vernon at the Performing Arts Centre for one night only on Jan. 30 before travelling to the Talking Stick Festival in Vancouver.

“I saw Carlos Rivera’s brilliant performance of the Horse in Red Sky Performance’s ‘Mistatim’ a few years back and have been a big fan of his work,” said Erin Kennedy, the Performing Arts Centre’s artistic director. “When I heard that he had co-created and is performing in ‘Tlakentli’ I jumped at the chance to bring him back to our community.”

Red Sky Performance brought the mesmerizing and awe-inspiring Spotlight Dance performance of Trace to the Performing Arts Centre earlier this Fall.

READ MORE: Dance traces back ancestral origins in Vernon

Ondinnok Productions situates its artistic approach “within the broad movement of cultural reconstruction that is driving the First Peoples of the Americas. De-colonization and “re-indigenization”: these two principles shape the creative process of the artists behind the dance-theatre production of TLAKENTLI; To regain the migratory energy and kinship that unites Indigenous nations from North to South; To regain their native language; Free themselves from the chains of colonization; Honour the host land.”

Tickets for Tlakentli are $30 for adults, $27 for seniors and $25 for students and on sale now through the Ticketseller Box Office by calling 549-SHOW (7469) or online at www.ticketseller.ca for the preview video, tickets and more information.

READ MORE: Samajam gets Vernon kids in the groove

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