Get to know Santee

BRANTFORD – Get up-close and personal with Santee Smith in Brantford next week.

A mother, performer, producer, choreographer and designer from Six Nations, Smith is going to be a speaker at the Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts’ “Artist Speaker Series” in Brantford on Tuesday, March 14. The series gives people an opportunity to get up-close and personal with distinguished artists on Turtle Island.

“I do a fair bit of artist talks and guest speaking,” said Smith. “It’s about connecting with people, to share insight about life as an artist, about the process of creation, or simply to offer my perspective on a topic. Every performance I create and produce has its own journey and so do I as an individual; talks allow me to offer a context for both. It’s also great to hear people’s questions and thoughts and get a dialogue happening.”

The evening will include Smith telling the story of her career with the use of video, still photos, readings and/or an interview segment with host, Cameron Smillie. It will feature an extra element such as sharing a personal memento or a musical surprise. Smith said to find out what her surprise will be you will have to attend the show. Tickets sell for $25.

“I’m bringing some videos of past and upcoming performances, photos, pottery, costumes and some other memorabilia from over the years. People will have to come out and see what that surprise might be. No spoilers,” she said.

Smith has always been a dancer, yet her first choreographic job was in 1995. Dance has been a gift of hers since a very young age.

“At one point I thought I wasn’t going to be a dancer for a “career” and tried to put it aside. What happened was that since I wasn’t following my passion and honouring my gifts I became sick and disillusioned; only after dance returned to my life did I regain my reason for being. During that uncertain time, I thought about being a physiotherapist, then a psychologist. Luckily for everyone else, I would’ve made a horrible physio and probably a depressive psych,” said Smith.

Smith has travelled the world as a performer and choreographer and the impact of her travels shows in her work.

“Being able to collaborate with other Indigenous artists from around the world definitely has a huge impact on my work. One of the greatest parts of my job is to build these connections to other Indigenous performing artists and companies to share and learn from each other. Also just getting to travel and be exposed to different lands, sites and people has been a tremendous gift,” said Smith.

Guests can participate in an open-floor question period where they can ask Smith more about her life, career and experiences.

“I’m most alive when I am dancing, so the actual performance has always been the big passion. Aside from performing, I enjoy the process of exploring movement,” she said.

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