Esme Olivia has been a part of the constellation called Dancing Earth Creations for the past six years, participating as a movement, theatre, music and teaching artist. Hers is a weaving of lineages from Mexico, Holland, the Jewish diaspora, and the Great Mystery. A singer-songwriter and producer, she has composed original music, spoken word, and sound design for various Dancing Earth productions. This includes songs whose lyrics are in non-colonizer languages such as Mutsun Ohlone, Kashaya Pomo and Tongva. Esme also helps to direct rehearsals for restaging productions and gives input as needed about choreography, performance, and aesthetics.
Her journey in this company has offered her myriad invitations to find more healthy and whole ways to move, to organize body, mind and spirit, to communicate, to collaborate, to witness with love, and to lead in a respectful way that recognizes everyone in a group comes with valuable ways of knowing. The biomimicry that is a core part of Dancing Earth’s technique has led to an embodied sense of oneness with the planet and stars beyond, and therefore an embodied sense of humble magnificence and reverence for life.
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“My people will sleep for one hundred years. When they awake, it will be the artists that give back their spirit.”
-Louis Riel, Métis leader
In 2018 and 2019, Dancing Earth collaborated with V’ni Dansi, a Vancouver-based dance company which specializes in traditional Métis dance and contemporary dance, to dance alive La Mitchin di Mitchif, formerly known as Mitchif Medicines. The dancers embodied plant medicines and renewal of Métis culture through dance, music, traditional medicine, and attention to nature.
Before the performance at the 2019 Talking Stick Festival, a Métis elder reminded the group that our dance helps bring the people’s spirit back, remembering the prophecy of revolutionary Métis leader, Louis Riel.
Some of the creative team gathered again in June 2023 for the next iteration of La Mitchin di Mitchif. CTV News did a video and written story about the production, which you can watch and read here. Below is a still from the video:
“I am honored to be included in this project; though I am not Métis, my heritage is also mixed between European blood and blood of peoples who lived on Turtle Island before colonial contact. It was very moving to bring the Métis sash to my heart, resonating as a Mestiza woman learning to recognize the diverse strength woven together by the blood of my ancestors who have loved and lived on lands oceans apart, all now singing in the sea of me.”
Photos by Chris Randle for V’ni Dansi