WOLASTOQI ARTISTS PARTNER WITH ATLANTIC BALLET TO CREATE ‘TRANSFORMATIVE’ PRODUCTION

'Behind us is a room full of ancestors,' Jeremy Dutcher says of collaboration

Wolastoqi singer and composer Jeremy Dutcher, grass dancer and choreographer Possesom Paul and Atlantic Ballet artistic director Igor Dobrovolskiy started work this month on a new production. (Pierre Fournier/CBC)

Jeremy Dutcher and Possesom Paul don’t make any apologies about wanting to change the world.

The young Wolastoqi artists are at the beginning of a three-year project with the Atlantic Ballet Theatre that will culminate in a new production, and they hope another step forward in sharing their culture, making lasting connections and artistic excellence.

Dutcher, a composer and singer, says the opportunity to bring a Wolastoqey story into a “ballet space” and “concert hall” is huge.

“I’ve had this vision of what opening night is going to be like with our people there, and they know that it’s their story,” he said.

“They never even thought they were invited — we didn’t even get in the door, and now we’re on stage and we’re shaping the narrative, we’re telling the story.”

The partnership started with a friendship between Possesom Paul, a grass dancer and choreographer from Sitansisk, or St. Mary’s First Nation, and Igor Dobrovolskiy, the Ukrainian-born artistic director and choreographer at the Atlantic Ballet.

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