Starr Muranko: “Telling Fearless Stories”

Native Earth’s annual Weesageechak Begins to Dance 27 is not just about new written work, but also explores new movement pieces. We’re proud to include Starr Muranko, Artistic Associate with Raven Spirit Dance and member of the Dancers of Damelahamid, in this year’s evening dedicated to dance .

Dancer/choreographer and educator, Starr Muranko, of mixed Cree (Moose Cree First Nation), German & French ancestry, has trained, performed and presented her research in Peru, New Zealand, Holland, India, Ghana and the USA. Muranko comes to the festival from Vancouver to share her work in development with Weesageechak audiences.

“Weesageechak is an amazing opportunity to be able to come together as a community and share our stories, celebrate our various artistic expressions and support one another to continue to move forward in our individual and collective work.”

As a part of Weesageechak’s Evening of Dance,  Muranko will be sharing an excerpt of her new work being developed, titled Spine of the Mother, with dancers Tasha Faye Evans and Andrea Patriau. The piece is a collaboration between artists in Canada and Peru based on a teaching shared by the Elders in South America that the Andes mountain range is the Spine of Mother Earth and connects us as people from the base in Argentina all the way up to the tip in Alaska.

“…this energy is activated through breath, impulse and a kinetic chain both in our own bodies as woman and within Mother Earth.”

“When I first heard this teaching many years ago it stirred something in me and has been living inside every since. We are exploring how this energy is activated through breath, impulse and a kinetic chain both in our own bodies as woman and within Mother Earth. It is a remembering of our connection between the North and the South as Indigenous people and this work-in-progress is a desire to find those connections in a deeper way.”

Bringing this piece to the Aki Studio was an obvious choice. “The festival programs an eclectic mix each year of up and coming artists, new works in progress and seasoned professionals that are telling fearless stories,” says Muranko. “It is a place to come and expand your ideas, challenge your perceptions and take in some of Canada’s greatest art all in once location.”

With the distance between them, Muranko and her collaborators have developed their material through online rehearsals periods via Skype.  After Weesageechak, they will continue this process to further develop the piece, then Muranko will head down to Peru to work with artists there. Audiences can check out the finished work at their premiere in Vancouver at the Dance Centre in the Fall of 2015.


Some bits and bobs about Starr Muranko

What advice would you give to someone who wants to do what you do? To begin. Even if you don’t know how, just start. Surround yourself by mentors, Elders and good people. Ask for help and don’t be afraid to take risks, it will only help you to grow and develop both as an artist and as a person. Don’t be afraid to think big ideas, you have a voice and perspective that is unique to you, that is a gift. Begin.

What’s your favourite dessert?
Definitely any kind of cheesecake :-)

What’s your quote?
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud
was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
– Anaïs Nin

Where is your favorite place to be?
Out in nature, sun shining and hearing the ocean.

Thanks Starr!


Read about fellow Dancers:
Santee Smith, Justin ManyFingers, & Brian Solomon

You can catch Starr Muranko’s Spine of the Mother on
Friday, Nov 21st @ 7:30pm.
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