THE INDIGENOUS DANCER IN RESIDENCY
The Indigenous Dancer in Residency is produced by Neighbourhood Dance Works (NDW), in partnership with First Light Friendship Centre, Spirit Song Festival and The Arts and Culture of Newfoundland and Labrador. The residency fosters collaboration and exploration of dance in an indigenous-led process with three distinct artists, in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Commencing in June 2019, Possesom Paul(NB), Rebecca Sharr(NL), and Meagan Musseau(NL) assumed the role of NDW’s IndigenousDancers in Residence. Under the direction of Possesom Paul, the artists will develop an original dance work that will culminate in a premiere presentation in Fall 2020. To share their developments, the artists will perform a “Curtain Raiser” excerpt at the Spirit Song Festival(Nov 2019) in St John’s. The long-term aspirations of this project will involve a lengthier creative process and technical residency at the LSPU Hall as well as continued youth outreach in the coming year.
Meagan Musseau is an interdisciplinary artist of Mi'kmaq and French ancestry from Elmastukwek, Ktaqmkuk territory (Bay of Islands, Newfoundland). She works with customary art practices and new media, such as beadwork, basketry, performance and installation to explore memory, language, and the relationship between land and body, object and narrative. Her work has been exhibited nationally, in venues such as FLUX Media Art Gallery, Victoria; Open Space, Victoria; Kelowna Art Gallery, Kelowna; Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton; MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina; Ace Art Inc., Winnipeg; Connexion artist-run centre, Fredericton; Grenfell Art Gallery, Corner Brook; and Eastern Edge Gallery, St. John’s. Musseau’s practice has been supported by awards including the Emerging Artist Award, VANL-CARFAC (2018); Atlantic Canadian Emerging Artist Residency at the Banff Centre, the Hnatyshyn Foundation (2018); Aboriginal Arts Development Award, First Peoples’ Cultural Council (2016); and Corner Brook Emerging Artist of the Year (2013).
Possesom’ [Ba-zaz-um] is a Wolastoq artist and cultural educator. Notable work includes, Atlantic School of Ballet’s Peter Pan, St John’s Spirit Song Festival, ‘We are Wolastoq,’ the New Beaverbrook Art Gallery Opening, Area 506 Festival, Choreography alongside Toronto famous Gadlfy Urban Dance Company, and the Detroit Concert of Colors. ‘Possesom’ has been featured in Canadian National Geographic, Globe and Mail, and CBC.
He has worked with artists as Jeremy Dutcher, City Natives, and Santee Smith of Kaha:wi Dance Theater, and even performed alongside the late Ray Charles. He is a forerunner of Atlantic development of different work that bring a spotlight to the vibrant art form of intertribal pow-wow dancing.
‘Possesom’ is a major contributor and resource to the world indigenous artist community, a chief advisor in developing and improving the Atlantic pow-wow scene, to running and managing many events as staff, head dancer, and master of ceremonies. Traveling all throughout the Atlantic Provinces, he teaches dance to a whole generation of performers at many different schools, creating a huge wave of new dancers in the hundreds, and developing pathways for those indigenous students to perform and develop new work and opportunities.
He is a member of the Wabanaki Grass Dance Society, and a keeper of traditional knowledge. He is a champion dancer, accomplished actor, traveled teacher & emerging choreographer — who has toured all through North America, sharing knowledge and engaging in audiences in critical thought towards their understanding of their own origins, and that of first peoples of the world.
Possesom is from the Society of Dancers who serve their people as "the ones who go first, and the ones who prepare sacred space." He draws his inspirations from his people, whose story and art have been here since time immemorial.