Dancing Kmɨtkinu

Dancing Kmɨtkinu Showing

Friday, April 19, 2024
6:00 - 7:30 pm

Ralph and Rose Chiodo Gallery, Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
ASL interpretation provided
Admission is free, advance reservation required via Eventbrite



Join us for a multidisciplinary evening of performance with shalan joudry, Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21's Artist in Residence. This special evening includes a reading of shalan’s original poem Kmɨtkinu (in various languages) with musical accompaniment, and a work-in-progress of Dancing Kmɨtkinu, a new collaboration between Mocean Dance and Nestuita’si Storytelling. Stay after the performance for an artist talk, and reception with food.

This is a special sneak-peek into the first phase of the creative process for this new movement work, featuring choreography by Sarah Prosper in collaboration with shalan, and Mocean’s co-artistic directors Sara Coffin and Susanne Chui, with dance artists Isaac Abriel, Robert Azevedo, I'thandi Munro and Sam Penner, and mentee NAT Chantel.


A woman stands in a forest next to a creek.


Phase 1 of Research

Research begins this spring for a new work by shalan joudry and Sarah Prosper. A partnership between Mocean and Nestuita'si Storytelling, The project aims to create a live, multi-sensory performance inspired by shalan joudry's literary poem Kmɨtkinu. 

From the Mi’kmaw word for “our homeland,” the poem Kmɨtkinu weaves together Mi’kmaw history and perspectives, with calls for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples to move forward in solidarity. Dancing Kmɨtkinu aims to explore and embody the words, images, and important messages of the poem.

The creative team for Dancing Kmɨtkinu includes shalan joudry, Sarah Prosper and Mocean Dance’s Co-Artistic Directors, Susanne Chui and Sara Coffin, alongside dance artists Isaac Abriel, Robert Azevedo, I'thandi Munro, Sam Penner, and mentee Nat Chantel. 

The project is supported in part by Arts Nova Scotia, as well as the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 who is hosting shalan joudry as Artist-in-Residence from January-May 2024, working on various stages of the project. Prosper and joudry will lead collaborators in the first phase of choreographic research from April 2 - 19, beginning with an immersive grounding retreat in partnership with the Ross Creek Centre for the Arts. After two more weeks of rehearsal as company-in-residence at Halifax Dance, the process will culminate in a work-in-progress showing at Pier 21.


A circular green logo .                    A multicoloured logo                     A green square logo                      A logo with blue and black text


Artistic Statement from shalan joudry

The original poem moves through the eras of pre-colonization through colonization in Mi’kma’ki. The meditations on grief, truth-seeking, and communal healing are echoed in the landscape’s own healing. The poem was translated into other languages so that there are a total of thirteen - to fit on the back of a turtle. It was featured at Nocturne (Halifax) as an audio installation in the Halifax Public Gardens in October 2020, and will soon be published as a limited edition hand-pressed book.

I am honoured to be working with Mocean and Sarah Prosper on this. Collaborating with diverse choreographers and dancers, finding other modes of embodying the original intentions of this poem is timely. This project is an act of peace-building and healing in itself, for participants and hopefully for the audience as well.

For more info:
Listen to shalan's podcast featuring the 13 languages of the poem Kmɨtkinu.
Listen to shalan's conversation on CBC's Halifax Mainstreet talking about Kmɨtkinu and the Pier 21 residency.

Artistic Statement from Mocean Dance

As an artistic catalyst for professional dance in Mi'kma'ki / Nova Scotia, Mocean is deeply invested in supporting the creation of works that represent and celebrate the region’s richly pluralistic identity. Dancing Kmɨtkinu, builds on an ongoing relationship with shalan joudry and Sarah Prosper, which has included creation, outreach, and mentorship projects over the past three years. Dancing Kmɨtkinu is part of an intentional effort to support the growth of Indigenous-led dance artists in this region, as an action towards the critical work of reconciliation and decolonization. We are excited to work with shalan and Sarah to build healthy relationships and create robust, thought-provoking, and meaningful artistic work for the benefit of all in Mi’kma’ki.

A woman stands in a forest holding a drum

About shalan joudry and Nestuita'si Storytelling

shalan joudry is a Mi’kmaw mother and narrative artist working in many mediums. She is a poet, playwright, podcast producer, storyteller and actor, as well as a cultural interpreter. Having worked as a professional oral storyteller for well over two decades, her first full-length play, Elapultiek, was commissioned and then produced by Two Planks and a Passion Theatre which toured in 2018 and 2019. shalan’s second book of poetry, Waking Ground (Gaspereau Press 2020) was short-listed for multiple literary awards. Her solo one-woman theatrical show, Koqm, debuted on the King’s Theatre Stage, Annapolis Royal, in 2021 then toured the province in 2022. shalan lives in her home territory of Kespukwitk (southwest Nova Scotia) with her family in their community of L’sitkuk (Bear River First Nation) where she is researching and working on reclaiming her L’nu language.

Nestuita’si Storytelling is led by shalan joudry, a small L’nu (Mi’kmaw) multi-disciplinary arts company focused on retelling cultural, ecological and personal stories that get to the heart of deeply human truths. From oral storytelling, podcasts, to full theatrical work, we are grounded in what it means to “re-member”. (Nestuita’si means “I recall/recollect” in the Mi’kmaw language.)

A woman with long dark hair smiles widely

Photo by Sherri Poirier Photography

About Sarah Prosper

Wisunn na Sarah Prosper (she/they/nekmow), Mikmaw/L’nu e’pite’s of the Eskasoni Mi’kmaq First Nation. Amalkewinu (dancer) holds a BSc Therapeutic Recreation, is a MA in Leisure Studies student, and a proclaimed community artist of the Wabanaki East Coast. Her first work created as an artistic director and choreographer is the Merritt Award winning show SAMQWAN in 2021-2023 at Highland Arts, Neptune, Stratford Festival and 2023 Canada Games. Dancing with Mocean Dance, Kinetic Studios, House of Eights, Painted Dance Co, Nestuita'si, and community focused initiatives, Prosper's community work varies between wellness and healing focused methods specific to community needs, and shares a curated dance workshop “Moving in Mi’kma’ki.” Prosper collaborates, creates, and moves with ms+t no’kmaq, all her relations, in a fluid identity uplifting pursuit.

An award winner of the 2022 Nova Scotia Indigenous Artist Recognition Award, she performs and creates on National stages in collaboration with world renowned artists. Prosper's practice encompasses an Indigenous/Mi’kmaq lens that deepens the threads of respect and reciprocity to dance, movement, social sciences, social justice, mental health & the land. Her work intends to connect, rebuild, and unite.