The Harbourfront Centre presented the world premiere of Homelands as part of their Torque series. Featuring three incredibly talented performers, Homelands is a celebration of life and nature through Indigenous Dance. Created and Directed by Santee Smith, Homelands is Mesmerizing from beginning to end; a true journey through time and space on our Mother Earth.

The performance took place behind a sheer scrim which allowed for a layer of projections to be shown on top of the performers. Sometimes video recordings of the performers out in nature, other times scenic shots which moved with the dancers themselves, the projection was a unique and interesting element of the performance. I loved the mixture of images which were shown via the projection and how it worked in tandem with the performance. Smith truly curated a full experience with Homelands.

Homelands took the audience on a journey from the creation of the world, through each season we experience. Water was the constant link between them all; a focus on the thing which brings all life and yet which many indigenous communities do not have access to. The dancers transformed themselves in to several different animals as well, including birds, deer, and owls. Homelands showcases the natural world in all its glory through the dancing and it certainly had me engaged from start to finish.

Dancing alongside Santee Smith was Katie Couchie and Feryn King. All three dancers moved so beautifully; I loved the times when they would dance perfectly in unison, they were dazzling. I liked how they performed a variety of styles of dance, and they each had several solos so we could see their talent shine.

I am certainly hoping to see more work from the Kaha:wi Dance Theatre in the future. The vision, time, and expertise that went into this performance was astounding, and made for a delightful evening of art and learning. I hope that Harbroufront Centre is able to bring them back for more beautiful programming. For more information about Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, visit:

On a personal note, the day after we saw Homelands, my partner and I went out to the Ontario Science Centre to see the Indigenous Ingenuity exhibit there. A fully interactive experience which was initially programmed by the Montreal Science Centre, the exhibit was also divided up into the four seasons, discussing everything form plants and animals to different legends and stories. You could snowshoe or do archery or build a small teepee adjacent to a huge one they had set up to sit in. There was also a photo exhibit of dancers in their pow-wow regalia which was truly a feast for the eyes.

I’ve realized over the past few years how little I know about the indigenous nations within Canada. Through my work in the arts, I am starting to learn more about what I don’t know, and seek out the knowledge that’s missing from my own. It’s been very inspiring and I look forward to continuing on this journey of learning through art.

Feryn King. Photo by Ian R. Maracle


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