By Invitation Only: Dance, Confederation and Reconciliation exhibit

Added 18th Mar 2022 by Amy Bowring / Last update 18th Mar 2022

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By Invitation Only: Dance, Confederation and Reconciliation exhibit

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By Invitation Only: Dance, Confederation and Reconciliation exhibit photos
Curators: Amy Bowring, Troy Emery Twigg

During the ban of Indigenous dance, non-Indigenous Canadians appropriated stories and costuming from Indigenous traditions for their own choreography. In 1936, Russian émigré Boris Volkoff used both Inuit and Iroquois stories for his ballets Mala and Mon-ka-ta and showed these works at a cultural festival at the Berlin Olympics as Canadian content. In 1949, Volkoff choreographed The Red Ear of Corn based on an Iroquois story and commissioned John Weinzweig to compose the music. This practice persisted after the ban was lifted and can be seen on CBC variety television shows in the 1950s and in Bettina Byers’s 1953 production Pocahontas, among other examples.

Pencil sketch, c. 1936, by “J.S.” based on Rockwell Kent’s lithograph titled Mala (Danseuse) (1933)
Pauline Sullivan Portfolio, Dance Collection Danse, 214.2012-0-1

Reproduction of Canadian Stage, Screen and Studio cover, December 1937
Bunny Lang Electronic Archives, Dance Collection Danse
Photos: DCD
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