SMUDGE: [definition] "A practice used by many Indigenous people involving the burning of medicine plants and immersing ourselves in the smoke. It is used to cleanse, bring good energy, dispel the negative, connect with our ancestors and the Earth."

Two generations, the past and future. The strength of tradition, the isolation of the contemporary world. Joined by blood, joined by Earth. Can this connection overcome the emptiness?

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Barbara Kaneratonni Diabo is Kanienkeha:ka (Mohawk) of mixed heritage originally from Kahnawake, now living in Montreal. Barbara is currently the Artistic Director and Choreographer of A’nó:wara Dance Theatre. An award-winning choreographer and dancer for over 25 years, she specializes in creating works that highlight Indigenous themes/stories/perspectives by often combining powwow, Haudenosaunee dance, and mainstream contemporary styles to create a fusion of dance that speaks to many different populations and tastes. She has studied in many forms of dance and graduated with a BFA in theatre from Concordia University and from the Native Theatre School.

She takes great pride in regularly sharing her culture and has performed across Canada and internationally. Some of her most recent work was performed at the Banff Centre, the Montreal Olympic Stadium, the National Arts Centre, the Confederation Centre for the Arts PEI, Harbourfront Centre, Place des Arts, Prismatic Festival Halifax, and Festival Quartiers Danses. She was one of only eight dancers in North America invited to perform at Gathering of Nations (New Mexico), the world’s largest powwow, in its first-ever hoop dance competition 2015.

Barbara also works with various organizations, including La Danse sur les routes du Quebec and Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance, to educate, help create safe spaces, and support Indigenous artists across Canada. Her goals are to inspire others, encourage cultural pride, uplift the spirit, and increase education and communication.

Kanien'keha:ka territory of Tiohtià:ke (also known as Montreal)


Choreographer and dancer: Barbara Kaneratonni Diabo
Director: Pepper O'Bomsawin
Music: "New Women Song" by Cris Derksen featuring Jennifer Kreisberg
Dancer and additional choreography: Emily Kahente Diabo "Gdazzle"
Director of photography and promo photo: François Léger Savard
Editor and colorist: Eric Morel

Coproduction of Barbara Kaneratonni Diabo, Pepper O'Bomsawin, and Festival Quartiers Danses

Additional support from A'no:wara Dance Theatre, Conseil des arts et lettres du Quebec, Musee McCord