Kaha:wi celebrates traditional Iroquoian song, dance and symbolism through contemporary dance expression. Powerful and captivating, Kaha:wi connects with audiences emotionally, physically and spiritually. This production is profoundly connected to the richness, integrity and beauty of the Iroquoian people. The cycle of Life unfolds through Kaha:wi as a grandmother dies and a new baby is born. The narrative weaves around the lives of three generations of women and the community in which they thrive. Kaha:wi draws inspiration from Iroquoian social dances such as the Gada:tro:t (Stomp Dance), Ehsga:nye: gae:nase: (New Women's Shuffle Dance), Gayowaga:yoh (Old Mocassin Dance) and the Wa enoti:yo (Stick Dance). Musically, Kaha:wi highlights traditional based songs such as the Dawn Song, Gada:tro:t, naming songs and Ato:wi:se (Women's Chant or Moon Songs).
Kaha:wi Dance Theatre (KDT) is one of Canada's leading contemporary dance companies, recognized for its seamless fusing of indigenous and contemporary dance into a compelling signature choreographic vision. Internationally renowned for artistic excellence, innovation and collaboration, KDT electrifies audiences from Canada and around the globe.
KDT was founded by Artistic Director Santee Smith, a leading Canadian choreographer "her highly charged, traditional/contemporary/ballet fusion eats up the stage" (Globe and Mail). Known for her meaningful, athletic and earth-bound movement language her work is visually stunning, deeply symbolic, spiritually stirring and entertaining. "My work is a response and a reflection of the world in which I live. Through dance I am able to express my dreams, visions and stories, both historical and contemporary." Santee Smith
Kaha:wi (ga-HAH-wee) means "to carry" in the Mohawk language and is a traditional name for Smith's family. KDT carries culture through dance, theatre, music and design. Their vision is to be a dynamic force in contemporary dance in Canada, a centre for creativity, innovation, artistry and Aboriginal expression that reflects, honours and celebrates culture.