A new journey of reconciliation is brought to life in the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s (RWB) latest production Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation. The full-length ballet production opened the RWB’s 75th season in October 2014, and is currently touring Canada-wide, making its Toronto debut with two performances on February 5 & 6, 2016.
In Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation, Annie is a young, urban First Nations woman adrift in a contemporary life of youthful excess. She feels strangely disconnected. Gordon is a homeless First Nations man who escaped the residential school system. He possesses the magic and power of the Trickster. Gordon becomes Annie’s guide and begins to show her his devastating story of the residential schools. Propelled into the past, Annie realizes she shares Gordon’s burden, and those of her people, and prepares for her new destiny as a healer. Gordon feels deeply the damage that has been done and the anger he carries inside. But the “going home star” is clear in the sky and Annie and Gordon both learn that without truth, even the most hateful truth, there is no reconciliation.
Commissioned by the prestigious Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet with Artistic Director André Lewis, this timely production has been heralded as “the most important work produced by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in its 75 year history” by Holly Harris of the Winnipeg Free Press.
“Creating this ballet transformed the Royal Winnipeg Ballet as an organization, “says Lewis. “Our experience went beyond the creation of a new ballet. It ultimately became our artistic expression of reconciliation, which we would like to be able to share with everyone.”
Lewis, along with the help of Cree actor, former member of parliament and Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Honorary Witness Tina Keeper — and in cooperation with TRC Chair Justice Murray Sinclair, Commissioner Marie Wilson and residential school survivors — have brought together a production team of highly-renowned Canadian and First Nations talent.
Based on the story written by esteemed Anishinaabe novelist and TRC Honorary Witness Joseph Boyden, Going Home Star features the choreography of Mark Godden with compositions by Christos Hatzis performed by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.
Going Home Star also features the music of famed Polaris Prize-Winning throat singer Tanya Tagaq and the Northen Cree Singers.
“Art is the way to allow Canadians to begin to understand something of such huge pain. I think stories, I think novels, I think film, I think dance, I think painting, all of this allows Canadians to absorb not just the pain and the anger, but the beauty as well,” says Joseph Boyden, in regards to the importance of art as a means of healing for First Nations and Canadian relations.
Going Home Star will be shown at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts on Friday, February 5, 2016 and Saturday, February 6, 2016. Tickets can be purchased at ticketmaster.ca. Visit www.rwb.org for more information.