Rainforest - 1987 - mistakes on the way to cross-cultural collaboration

Added 19th Mar 2022 by Karen Jamieson / Last update 19th Mar 2022

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Rainforest - 1987 - mistakes on the way to cross-cultural collaboration

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In 1987, Karen Jamieson Dance created Rainforest, a work that explored the West Coast of Canada as social milieu, physical environment, subject, and inspiration. Unfortunately, choices made in the work's creation and a lack of attention to permissions and attribution led to criticisms of the work, and a growing awareness of steps that needed to be taken to avoid culturally appropriating while exploring and drawing inspiration from First Nations traditional knowledge and ideas.
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Karen Jamieson Archives
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WITH RAINFOREST : Show la filled with dancers performing stark and simple ritualized movements Rainforest does have its moments Rooceria BRAINFOREST - Karen Jamie son Dance Theatre . Original music by Bruce Ruddell Salvador Fer rors . Arcadian Hall , Main and 6th , 8:30 p.m , May 5-9 and Mey 12-16 By SUSAN MERTENS There's nothing like knowing fest itself in singular expressions where you are . And choreogra- of its power . " pher Karen Jamieson makes I'm not sure , bowever , that sure you're in no doubt about Rainforest quite measures up as that . one of those singular expressions Before Tuesday's audience but it packs some interesting in went into the theatre , she per tellectual content and it does formed a repeated ' loop ' expla- have its moments sation dressed as a tour guide , And Dode works better than the whipping a Chinese - style hair opening where her six dancers , pick from her chignon to use as a in animal striped and spotted pointer , indicating the compass costumes that could be tribal or directions in the small foyer , something you'd wear to an up dangling a plumb line , fixing our derground club on Saturday geographie location on a pro- night , perform some stark and jected map simple , ritualized movement - This is Pacific Rim conscious arms overbead , bands clasped , ness and , specifically , native powerful chop to the groin , B.C. consciousness strong quick two - footed bops - Jamieson't new 85 - minute while the Ruddell Ferreras work , Rainforest , describes it - synthesized score pumps out sell as " celebration of an ex . blistering percussive sound traordinary physical environ Then , with eyes starting and ment that has , for millenaries , tongues unnaturally extended , or generated and nurtured powerful thumbs to temples with fingers art forms and continues to mani- interlaced and coming to a point People - in her search for the common roots of the two cul tures . The closer to mime , the less directly physical the piece's communicative power I preferred the raw and reck less , 15 - second , scene - shifting over nose and mouth , they por solo interludes by Alejandro trayed the major mask forms of But Jamieson deserves praise the westcoast tribes the terri fying spirit people , the amusing for generally finding a move ment language that seems a frogs , the long - clawed bears , the seamless blend of native and beaked raven - catching the character of each without benefit contemporary rock culture - the of makeup . music video people would jump at some of this stuff . Possession , Initiation , the free She returns at the end of the dom to let go that a mask confers -Jamieson explores this in ber piece : first in the guise of an version of the traditional H. anthroplogist for whom the na matsa dance . The power here is tive culture is something to pin in the raw physicality of the Wind class in sliding drawers . " down , label and file away " be movement of Alison Crawford as Then , after the set of seven , the initiate the work is wea kest when it's being most ethno towering , tree structures have been toppled like so many rotting graphically literal , showing can lodgepole pines or totems , she Bibalism's gory mouth , enacting " goes native ' , dancing in skimpy the ritual purification wash . The same goes for the story . skins , a symbolic plumb line in telling section where Jamieson de band , a pair of pliers in the juxtaposes native Indian and Ex other with which she gleefully ropeas ballet stories - a quick plunders for creative lood the culture she's just showa w . sketch Swan Lake is followed by the tale of Raven and the First