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Dancers of Damelahamid

Transforming time and space to bridge the ancient with the living

Dancers of Damelahamid, an aboriginal dance company from Canada, performs July 19 at the MACC. -- CHRIS RANDLE photo via MACC

Catch a special summer performance of the Dancers of Damelahamid –an aboriginal dance company from West Vancouver, Canada — in its inaugural visit to Maui at 7:30 p.m. July 19 in Castle Theater at Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului.

This unique performance is timed to coincide with the MACC’s Schaefer International Gallery’s First Nations Art of British Columbia exhibit that runs through August 11.

The Dancers of Damelahamid’s rich history of masked dance inspires a compelling performance, celebrating the diversity and time depth of the many beautiful indigenous cultures across Canada. Through dramatic dance, captivating narrative, intricately carved masks and elaborate regalia, the Dancers of Damelahamid transform time and space, and bridge the ancient with a living tradition.

The company was founded on more than five decades of extensive work of song restoration. For countless generations, song and dance played an integral part in defining art and culture and was banned by the Canadian government for several decades, though it was still privately maintained. The Dancers of Damelahamid emerged in the 1960s out of an urgency to ensure that the knowledge of their ancestors was not lost. Over the forty years that followed, a changed society created the context for the dances to survive through a new role: dance as a performance for public audiences.

Since 2003, the Dancers of Damelahamid has established itself as a preeminent professional aboriginal dance company that has self-produced several theatre-based productions, and the creation of newly choreographed dance works. It is the current directive of the Dancers of Damelahamid to redefine and characterize their practice so that the dances may continue to be tangible and accessible for the next generations.

Tickets are $25 and $35 (plus applicable fees), with half-priced admission for keiki 12 years of age and younger and 10 percent discount for MACC member. Tickets are available at the box office, by phone at 242-7469 or online at www.mauiarts.org.

In connection with the performance, there will be a movement-based workshop presenting different styles of Coastal First Nations songs by the Dancers of Damelahamid from 5 to 6:30 p.m. July 18 in the MACC’s Omori Studio. All levels of experience are welcome. Space is limited. The cost is $10 and registration is recommended in advance by visiting the box office or calling the MACC directly. Workshop attendees receive a $5 discount on tickets for the following day’s performance in Castle Theater.