Dakhká Khwáan Dancers perform in Vernon Sept. 23. (Contributed)

World-renowned dancers shake Vernon stage

Dakhká Khwáan Dancers and DJ Dash at Performing Arts Centre

The national award-winning Dakhká Khwáan Dancers and DJ Dash bring their unique fusion of traditional dance and electronic music to town.

Launching this season’s SPOTLIGHT Dance Series, the Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre Society brings the vibrant and energetic performance of Deconstruct/Reconstruct on Friday, Sept. 23 at 7:30 p.m.

The Dakhká Khwáan Dancers are a national award-winning Inland Tlingit dance group based out of Whitehorse, Yukon. Together with DJ Dash, they fuse traditional singing, dancing, drumming and storytelling with techno and hip-hop music and video to create vibrant multimedia performances, drawing influences from contemporary Indigenous artists, such as A Tribe Called Red. Their high-energy performances feature carved cedar animal masks, stunning traditional regalia, and floor-shaking bass and beats that carry the unique voices of the Dakhká Khwáan Dancers, right up to the present and into the future.

The dancers have earned international acclaim, dancing across Canada, the U.S., and overseas to New Zealand and Taiwan. They performed at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and the Pan Am Games in 2015; and performed for and supported the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) delegation that recently met with Pope Francis in Vatican City, Italy. The group received the 2014 National Aboriginal Cultural-Tourism Award and were nominated for an Indigenous Music Award for their first album, Deconstruct/Reconstruct produced in collaboration with DJ Dash and now on tour.

They were also recently named the lead dance group for the 2024 Celebration festival, a biennial celebration of Tlingit, Tsimshian and Haida cultures that gathers more than 2,000 dancers and thousands of spectators in southeastern Alaska every two years. The group received this special honour at this year’s Celebration event, held this June in Juneau, Alaska.

Dakhká Khwáan means People of the Inland in the Tlingit language. Originally from Carcross, Yukon, Dakhká Khwáan Dancers formed in 2007, by Marilyn Yadułtin Jensen, Dakhká Khwáan’s leader and founder. The group started with six members, but has grown to include about 30 people as well as a junior group. They focus on reclaiming their languages and traditional values through their inherent art form of singing, drumming, dancing, and storytelling, presenting their performances with the utmost respect to cultural protocol and with the highest form of artistic integrity. Members of the group originate from all of the Interior Tlingit Nations as well as other welcomed Nations from the Southern Yukon.

Together, they share their passion for expressing their identity through the arts.

Doors open to the show at 6:30 p.m. with special pre-show VDPAC 21st Birthday Bash events.

Tickets are $40 for adults, $37 for seniors, and $35 for students, or save 25 per cent off this show and more by subscribing to the SPOTLIGHT Dance Series. For tickets call 250-549-SHOW (7469) or visit vdpac.ca.

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