Through whimsical music, dance and storytelling, Medicine Bear weaves into one magical narrative traditional Iroquoian stories: how the Bear Clan came to be known as the “Keeper of the Medicines” and the hunter who discovered the gift of healing. Following oral tradition practices, Medicine Bear teaches virtues of compassion, thankfulness and respect for nature in a way that is playful and thought provoking for young and family audiences.
Culturally and artistically rich the performance includes characters: feisty Lil’Bear; kind-hearted Bear Clan woman KoKwari; clumsy young hunter Radolats; omnipotent Great Spirit/Todah and mysterious plant spirit Oh-Gee-Jah.
The stage glows with warmth as characters dance along a glistening brook, pick wild fruits, and hunt with the Deer. Stylized video projections highlight dazzling aspects of the narrative: the forest setting, meadow of deer, forest animals and the personified plant spirits.
Medicine Bear entertains while expanding understanding and appreciation for the Arts and encourages the sharing of First Nations culture for future generations.
Medicine Bear is a co-production with Woodland Cultural Centre and premiered in February 2012 at Centre for the Arts, Brock University. Medicine Bear has graced the stage at: Living Arts Centre, Mississauga, ON; Capitol Theatre, Chatham, ON; Calgary International Children’s Festival, Epcor Centre, Calgary, AB; Vancouver’s International Children’s Festival on Granville, Island, BC; Potash Corp Saskatchewan Children’s Festival, SK, etc.
Medicine Bear’s creative team includes Artistic Direction/Choreography/Script by Santee Smith; Composition/Arrangement by Donald Quan with additional songs by ElizaBeth Hill, Santee Smith and Cam Hill; Set/Video/Lighting Design by Andy Moro; Costume/Props Design by Gabriella Caruso, Leigh Smith and Scott Hill. The musical score features Mohawk musician David R. Maracle and Noelle Maracle.
Co-production Kaha:wi Dance Theatre and Woodland Cultural Centre
Artistic Director/Choreographer/Writer: Santee Smith
Composer: Donald Quan
Production Designer (Video/Lighting/Set): Andy Moro
Costume/Prop Designer: Gabriella Caruso
Singer/Songwriters: ElizaBeth Hill, Cam Hill, Santee Smith
Musician: David R. Maracle
Singer: Noelle Maracle
Voice-over: Semiah Smith, Frank Miller
Musical Engineer: Gary Honess
Video performers: Emily Law, Mariana Medellin-Meinke, Michael Caldwell, Semiah Smith, Danny Vyse, Santee Smith
Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, Woodland Cultural Centre, National Ballet School
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