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Vancouver Coastal First Nations Dance Festival

Dancers of Damelahamid

The Dancers of Damelahamid’s Coastal First Nations Dance Festival took place at New Westminster’s Anvil Centre and/o UBC’s Museum of Anthropology.

2020 dates were from February 25th to March 1st. 2021 dates are to be confirmed.

 

Dancers of Damelahamid First Nations Dance Festival in New Westminster

The Dancers of Damelahamid First Nations Dance Festival happens in the early spring each year and in 2020 it took place during the week of February 25th to March 1st.

2020 marked the event’s 13th season, and its second time at its new venue in New Westminster. The festival is always a remarkable series of cultural performances, and this was of course the case again in 2020.

In addition to afternoon shows, there are also special evening performances, which not surprisingly usually sell out.

It’s a cultural experience that’s highly recommended and you won’t want to miss!

 

MOA at Coastal First Nations Dance Festival
Dancers of Damelahamid at the MOA

 

Festival Location

The Coastal First Nations Dance Festival used to happen at the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) on the University of British Columbia‘s campus. In 2019, however, the festival took place at the Anvil Centre at 777 Columbia Street in New Westminster.

In 2020 the festival was again at the Anvil Centre, although with one day of performances for school groups that took place in the Haida House at the Museum of Anthropology. Except for on Tuesday, February 25th, 2020, all other events in 2020 happened at the venue in New Westminster.

Details for the 2021 festival are to be confirmed. It may or may not take place due to the ongoing spread of the novel coronavirus.

 

The Dance Festival

The annual Coastal First Nations Dance Festival showcases Canadian Indigenous artists from BC, Western Canada and the Yukon, as well as out-of-country groups from places like Alaska, Hawaii and further abroad.

Highlights of the season in previous years have included performances by the following artists:

  • Boyd Benjamin – “The Flying Gwitch’in Fiddler” from the Yukon
  • Git Hayetsk and Git Hoan – performers from Alaska
  • Dancers of Damelahamid

 

2020 Performance Schedule

In 2020 the Coastal First Nations Dance Festival ran from Tuesday, February 25th, to Sunday, March 1st.

On the Tuesday, there were daytime performances for local school groups at both the Museum of Anthropology and Anvil Centre. At just the Anvil Centre, for the general public, there were Signature Evening Performances on the Friday night, and Festival Stage events on the Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

 

MOA First Nations Dancer Masks

 

School Group Performances

On the Tuesday at the Museum of Anthropology and on Wednesday and Thursday at Anvil Centre there were performances for school groups of children from kindergarten to grade 12.

Performances took place on the Tuesday at 10:30 am and again at 1 pm. On Wednesday they were at 10:30 am and on Thursday they were at 1 pm.

Performances for school groups included:

Tuesday (February 25th, 2020) (at the MOA)

  • Chesha7 iy lha mens (Squamish)
  • Tuakana and Teina Leadership Academy Group (Māori)
  • Dancers of Damelahamid

Wednesday (February 26, 2020) (at the Anvil Centre)

  • Ewk Hyaha Hozdii (Wet’suwet’en)
  • Tuakana and Teina Leadership Academy Group (Māori)
  • Dancers of Damelahamid

Thursday (February 27, 2020) (at the Anvil Centre)

  • Ewk Hyaha Hozdii (Wet’suwet’en)
  • Tuakana and Teina Leadership Academy Group (Māori)
  • Dancers of Damelahamid

 

Signature Evening Performances

Signature Evening Performances took place on Friday, February 28th, 2020, at 7:30 pm with the doors opening at 7 o’clock.

Tickets for the Signature Evening Performances were $30 for adults and $25 for students, seniors and museum members.

Advanced tickets were available through Ticketsnw.ca, although service charges that way do usually apply.

(Note: Show times and other details are subject to change.)

Performances on the Friday evening in 2020 included the following:

  • Spakwus Slolem (Squamish)
  • Dancers of Damelahamid
  • Tooma Laisa and Leanna Wilson (Inuit)
  • Rainbow Creek (Haida)

 

Dancers of Damelahamid Performance
Dancers of Damelahamid

 

Festival Stage Performances

Festival Stage shows took place starting at 1:00 pm with new performances every hour on the Saturday and Sunday. On these days admission was “pay what you can”.

Saturday (February 29, 2020) Performances

At 1:00 pm:

  • Tsatsu Stalquayu (Musqueam)
  • Dakhká Khwáan (Inland Tlingit)

At 2:00 pm:

  • Yisya’winuxw (Kwakwaka’wakw)
  • Tuakana and Teina Leadership Academy Group (Māori)

At 3:00 pm:

  • Git Hoan (Tsimshian)

Sunday (March 1, 2020) Performances

At 1:00 pm:

  • Dakhká Khwáan (Inland Tlingit)
  • Kwhlii Gibaykw (Nisga’a)

At 2:00 pm:

  • Tooma Laisa and Leanna Wilson (Inuit)
  • Git Hayetsk (Tsimshian/Nisga’a)

At 3:00 pm:

  • Chinook Song Catchers (Squamish)

 

First Nation Dancer with Totem

 

Tips and Advice

Below are some suggestions to help you make the most out of your experience at the dance festival.

TIP #1: The Coastal First Nations Dance Festival is a popular event. If you go to a free show, arrive early to make sure you can get in. Also, for all shows, arrive early to find a good seat.

TIP #2: Book your seats to the ticketed evening shows well in advance as they almost always sell out.

TIP #3: Don’t forget your camera! The costumes and dancing are impressive! Note though that photography might not be permitted at the Signature Evening Performances. Also, if wanting to take photos of performers when not on stage, ask for permission.

 

Dakhka Khwaan First Nation Dancer

 

Other Information

Click First Nations Dance Festival for more information on the event.

Click Museum of Anthropology for more details about the venue where the event used to take place in previous years.

For information on similar events, check out First Nations Culture in the Lower Mainland or Vancouver’s Festivals & Events Calendar.

Other Indigenous events taking place around February and/or March include the following:

 

 

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