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V’ni Dansi has been successfully sharing the culture and history of the Métis with audiences of all nations since it was founded in 2000 by Yvonne Chartrand.
Today, V’ni Dansi holds the distinction of being the only company in Canada to teach and perform both Métis and contemporary dance.
Yvonne Chartrand’s vision for the company has been greatly influenced by the writing and legacy of Métis leader Louis Riel who said, "My people will sleep for one hundred years and when they awaken, it will be the artists that will bring their spirit back to the people…"
V’ni Dansi gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Mariko Kage, original company co-founder with Yvonne Chartrand, in the company’s inception.
In Mariko Kage's own words: "My involvement as an assistant director, dancer and administration support for Compaigni V’ni Dansi during the company’s early years is of three-fold significance. Firstly, being of mixed race decent, raised in Japan and in Canada, dance has been, since my childhood, the “language” of my soul transcending culture and ethnicity, that which helped to carve my path to personal freedom. Secondly, as an artist, I firmly believe in the power and the positive benefits of dance and movement as “peaceful medicine” for the soul, for children and adults alike. Thirdly as a mother of children who are of mixed Aboriginal, Asian and European ancestry, I have been involved in various initiatives to help create healthy communities in which traditional and contemporary arts and culture thrive and flourish.
As our friendship through dance developed into a rich partnership filled with common values and aspirations, I am deeply grateful to have collaborated with Yvonne Chartrand: in the practical planning of the projects that lead to the birth of Compaigni V’ni Dansi; in learning from a Japanese Butoh dance master together; and in expanding our skills as dance company directors. Most importantly, as a friend and an assistant, I was honoured to support her inspiring life vision of launching a dynamic new dance company that not only imparts vigor and spirit to preserve the Métis cultural traditions, but also embraces contemporary expressions to be shared with the world."
Mariko Kage, Co-Artistic Director 2000 - 2004