V’ni Dansi is a Vancouver-based traditional Métis and contemporary dance company dedicated to sharing the dances, stories and culture of the Métis. Led by Artistic Director Yvonne Chartrand, the company is dedicated to preservation and innovation.
Dancers perform Métis dance under the name- the Louis Riel Métis Dancers, and contemporary works as V'ni Dansi.
V’ni Dansi holds the distinction of being the only company in Canada to teach and perform both Métis and contemporary dance. Meaning "Come and Dance" in Michif, V’ni Dansi is thrilled to share the Métis people's joyful culture with audiences of all nations.
Our work manifests in three creative themes: traditional Métis jigging, contemporary Métis jigging, and contemporary dance. The jigging component of our work is performed under the name - the Louis Riel Métis Dancers. Contemporary works are created for, and by, Yvonne Chartrand under the name Compaigni V'ni Dansi.
Traditional Métis jigging preserves the historical dances of generations ago; such dances include: The Red River Jig (up to 100 steps), La Danse du Canard, La Danse du Crochet, Métis square dance and reels with calls (usually 8 people). These dances are traditionally done with a poised upper body, feet do not come higher than the ankle bone, and the rhythms mimic the sound of a running horse. These traditions stem from First Nations dances while also embodying the elegance of the European historical dance influence. This fusion ultimately became the unique style of Métis dance. This traditional form was passed on to Artistic Director, Yvonne Chartrand, through mentorships with Métis Elders and knowledge keepers making her knowledge of the old ways a valuable cultural legacy that must be preserved.
Contemporary Métis jigging modernizes traditional forms yet still pays homage to the cultural roots of each dance. This newer form of cultural expression is not limited to jigging but includes square dances and reels. These styles are performed with rigorous full-body movement and square dance outfits. These forms are prevalent at most Métis festivals.
Inspiration for contemporary dance works is sourced from the ancestral memory of the body and the stories, history and culture of the Métis people. Past works have portrayed cultural realities through a Métis lens rather than a colonial perspective. As Yvonne evolves as a mid-career artist, her contemporary works are now exploring more abstract themes and forms of movement while maintaining a cultural foundation that honours her heritage.