Students and youth prepping for country’s largest Indigenous youth performance

Two hundred and fifty Indigenous students from 13 communities across the country are ready to leave it all on the stage.

Canada’s Largest Indigenous Youth Performance, presented by Outside Looking In (OLI), is from May 12 to May 13 at Toronto’s Meridian Hall. After last year’s return to performing in front of a live audience OLI CEO and Founder Tracee Smith said she is excited about the event.

“This is a fantastic year for OLI,” said Smith in a press release. “We’ve never had this many student performers and we’re continuing to draw big names to our showcase.”

Smith added the organization will be announcing special guests throughout the next few weeks leading up to the event. OLI is a national organization that offers multiple support programs for Indigenous youth across the country.

Smith added that OLI continues to expand its reach.

“2023 has seen the addition of six new communities, including our first in Quebec. Our numbers took a bit of a hit during the pandemic, but last year and this year clearly indicate that we have bounced back with more students and communities wanting to join our dance program,” said Smith.

Since the inception of its dance program in 2007, OLI has played a critical role in empowering thousands of Indigenous youth from more than 30 communities and achieving high school graduation rates of over 96 per cent while improving academic standing and health and wellbeing.

More than 80 per cent of youth participants reported improved mental health and self-esteem; 90 per cent reported an increased level of importance on education and 86 per cent reported better grades.

The 2023 performance will feature youth from:

  • Baker Lake, Nunavut
  • Big Island Lake Cree Nation, Sask.
  • Garden Hill, Man.
  • Lac La Croix, Ont.
  • Native Canadian Centre of Toronto
  • Pikangikum First Nation, Ont.
  • Pinaymootang First Nation, Man.
  • Red Sucker Lake, Man.
  • Seven Oaks School Division, Winnipeg
  • St. Theresa Point, Man.
  • Tasiujaq, Nunavik, Que.
  • Wasagamack, Man.
  • Webequie First Nation, Ont.

Local students will be able to catch the first showcase on May 12 at 10:30 a.m. The general public is invited to purchase tickets for the second show on May 13 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 to $100 each.

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