Creation Lab 2016

CREATION LAB – Six Nations of the Grand River – July 18-30, 2016

KDT’s CREATION LAB is a process-oriented offering participants a creative space for exploration of inner landscape; experimentation in unexplored artistic territory; dramaturgical processes; analysis of Indigenous performance practices and creative strategies.

In 2016 KDT is excited to host the CREATION LAB on the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. This year’s immersive community experience will focus on activation of inner and outer space in body and land, integration of community through shared cultural events, open public studio work, site based explorations and youth/elder connections.

The LAB focuses on creative strategies for inter-cultural, inter-arts, inter-Indigenous work framed in Indigenous methodological and dramaturgical perspective. Facilitators and participating artists work together to re-connect to cultural memory, explore and engage in embodied practice, story/text generated from body, land and place. The LAB is open to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists.

The LAB 2016 will be led by facilitators: choreographer, dancer and video artist Louise Potiki-Bryant; director and choreographer Alejandro Ronceria and KDT’s Artistic Director Santee Smith and others guest teachers to be announced.


July 18-23: Week 1: Exploration & Development of Methodology
– Group classes, exploration of Indigenous creation processes, devising performance tools, composition, site-specific activations, community showings and conversations led by LAB facilitators (see their focus below).
July 23-24: Six Nations Powwow Weekend
– On-site activities, including performance opportunities and master classes with invited powwow dancers.
July 25-30: Week 2: Specific Creation Work
– Participants will be divided into smaller groups.
Based on submission proposals, selected artists will be offered the opportunity to explore their proposed work in development, along side 1 of the facilitators.
– Artists who are not working on their own creation will be work within 1 of the groups and experience the process of devising a performance vision.
– Informal showcasing of performance creation in development and conversations about process


NOTE: Registration for the full CREATION LAB is mandatory (no partial participant or drop-in options)

Artists are required to submit the following via email:

  • Artist resume or CV: outlining of performance training or performance background (max 2 pages).
  • • For artists who are applying to develop their own performance work: A creation
    proposal description including: artistic vision, outline of its current state of development, statement
    about your cultural, artistic or academic practice, why you want to participate, what outcomes
    would you like to achieve (max 3 pages).
  • 5 minutes of video or photos of the work
  • Include links (website or online publishing) to your choreographic/performance/art work or

Please submit your proposal to:

The CREATION LAB facilitators will review artist proposals and acceptance letters will follow.

KDT’s CREATION LAB is holistic and supports a healthy ecology for creativity and performance. The CREATION LAB welcomes emerging to professional artists, interdisciplinary artists who incorporate dance, theatre and performance, directors of movement.

CREATION LAB 2016 intersects with community events such as: The Six Nations of The Grand River ‘Champion of Champions’ Powwow (, the Lyle Anderson Memorial Smoke Dance Competition (, among others.


Louise Potiki-Bryant
Louise Potiki-BryantLouise Potiki-Bryant is a choreographer, dancer, and video artist of Kāi Tahu, Kāti Mamoe and Waitaha descent. In 2014 Louise was the Caroline Plummer Fellow in Community Dance 2014 at the University of Otago, undertaking the Whakaahua: Coming to form Project. Also in 2014 Louise was awarded the Harriet Freidlander New York Residency by The Arts Foundation of New Zealand supporting her to live in New York City for a six-month period of creative inspiration. She will be undertaking the residency in 2016. Louise has choreographed for several New Zealand dance companies most notably for Atamira Dance Company, with whom she has created six works, including NGAI TAHU 32 (‘Best contemporary dance production 2004′, NZ Listener), TE AROHA ME TE MAMAE (‘Best New Choreographer 2003′, NZ Listener), TAONGA; dust water wind (‘Best Production’ ‘Best Music’ and ‘Best Scenography, the Tempo Dance Festival 2010) and recently the work-in-progress MANAIA. Louise has also choreographed dance works for companies such as Curve, Black Grace Dance Company, New Zealand Dance Company among others. Louise has a strong body of solo and collaborative works, which draw on her interdisciplinary practice, and her unique movement vocabulary and performance qualities such as her work KIRI which opened the TEMPO Dance festival 2014. Louise has a Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts with a major in Contemporary Dance and a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Māori Studies. Her teaching experience has included positions at the University of Otago, University of Auckland, and Unitec School of Performing and Screen Arts, teaching courses in choreography, interdisciplinary practice, whakaahua dance practice, and video dance. Louise is also a certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher. 

Louise’s CREATION LAB Focus:

I will share aspects of the contemporary Māori dance practice known as Whakaahua: coming to form. Whakaahua means to acquire form or to transform. Arising out of my long-term collaboration with composer and researcher Professor Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, the Whakaahua Dance Practice is an evolving practice which offers somatic dance techniques for creativity, healing, choreography and movement improvisation. The Whakaahua Dance Practice is inspired by Prof Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal’s research into the historical whare tapere – Māori pā based houses of storytelling, dance, music, games and more. One of the main sayings associated with the whare tapere is “Kia kawea tātou e te rehia – Let us be carried by the spirit of joy”. The Whakaahua Dance Practice draws inspiration from a central kaupapa (concept) of the haka (dance) of the historical whare tapere, whereby a quality from the natural world emerges from deep within an individual dancer to and it’s fullest expression in the performance of the dance. Louise will share the Whakaahua Dance Practice as a tool to connect the wairua (spirit), hinengaro (mind/consciousness), tinana (body) and as a tool for choreographic development. The Whakaahua Dance Practice includes nohopuku (meditation), somatic dance exercises, tākaro (games) from the whare tapere, and visualisation/improvisation exercises.


Alejandro Ronceria
alejo photoAlejandro Ronceria is an internationally acclaimed and award-winning director, choreographer, producer based in Canada.  Most recently, Ronceria was a director/choreographer for Almalgama, commissioned by the City of Toronto for Pan Am 2015.  He was the director/co-producer of the opening showcase for the Aboriginal Pavilion for Pan Am 2015. In 2013, Ronceria was the director for the Northern Scene National Arts Centre: Spirit of the Drum and the director for the Northern Scene National Arts Centre Opening Gala.  Ronceria was also the director/co-producer for the Arctic Winter Games Opening Gala in 2012 and choreographer for the official opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The live event was aired on ten international broadcast channels in a total of 11 languages.  Ronceria was the co-founder/founding artistic director of the first Aboriginal Dance Program in North America at The Banff Center for the Arts. The groundbreaking program brought together diverse Indigenous and Inuit dancers from Canada, the USA, Mexico and Greenland. From 1996-2001, he served as the artistic director. This program was the incubator for developing a new generation of choreographers working in Canada and abroad and served as a model for various schools for indigenous dance internationally. In 2010, Ronceria was the first recipient to graduate with a Masters Degree in Fine Arts from York University in Dance Dramaturgy and is the first to hold this degree from a Canadian university.

Alejandro’s CREATION LAB Focus:

This LAB focuses on bringing artist to understanding the presence of space, time, dimension, musicality, and narrative elements. Participants are engaged in a series of movements and exercises to find the relationship between themselves and their physical environment, with the goal being an effective transformation that can sway the audience’s perception of the stage.

Dance and Ritual: Identifying personal everyday rituals, students will investigate the role of ritual in culture and dance: Improvisations that explore the distinct characteristics of ritual including the use and effects of repletion, space and voice. Participants will be given group exercises, to explore various styles of dance languages and encourage physicality, flexibility, musicality, and use of space, improvisation and composition.

Discussion and debate: how does the social, cultural and political context determine a dance movement? What is a personal statement in dance? How does ritual manifest itself in contemporary urban settings? Comparing contemporary dance aesthetics and emerging movements in dance aesthetics. Participants will explore how one single concept can be represented in numerous approaches, playing with creative process and movement language.

Throughout the lab process, participants will experiment with composition, choreographic ideas, musicality and vocal work.

Lab Objectives:
1. Improve skills with which to observe and appreciate movement in different contexts.
2. Empower participants to develop, express, and question their own ideas about dance.
3. Hone improvisation and composition skills.
4. Foster creative and critical thinking and moving.
5. Prepare participants to work independently as well as collaboratively with peers.


Santee Smith (Tekaronhiáhkhwa)
Santee’s CREATION LAB Focus:

My focus for the CREATION LAB is to provide context and make connections between guest facilitators, participants and Six Nations community.  My job is to create and maintain a healthy and vibrant space that allows the Lab to be responsive and active throughout the process, as well as address the needs and developments on a day-to-day basis.

During the Creation Lab I will also focus on activating body and space, preparing the body for movement and full use of artists physical capacity in the process of creation. Diverse physical training methods will be explored to support full-bodied movement, strength and conditioning, and image-based improvisation.  

My focus will also be to question, challenge and assist all Lab participants. How free and fearless can we be to create? How deeply can we re-connect and re-ground to Indigenous knowledge foundations?


For more information contact:

and/or watch the KDT Summer Intensive 2015 video –

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