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New series “Pulse” showcases talent of indigenous dancers

Dance is for indigenous communities as breathing is for survival. “Dance has been part of our culture since time immemorial. It’s cultural expression at its purest and as old as humanity itself,” explains director/producer Jason Brennan. “It’s part of our ceremonies, it’s always been part of who we are, and it will continue to be part of who we are. Dance is also one of the strongest ways to bring people together. It creates unity, cooperation and coherence. That is one of the reasons why ceremonial dance was banned and almost eradicated by colonialism. Fortunately it survived, and we are now seeing a revival not only in traditional dance, but in all types of dancing and that is the beauty of this art form. It evolves while staying true to its origins: the body in motion as a way for people to express feelings, express who they are and also heal.” His new variety TV series, pulse, shows the depth and versatility of this band. The title itself has roots in the thriving vitality of dance’s origins. “Dance started as an instinctive response to the beating of the human heart. Indigenous peoples translate that heartbeat with the drum. The drum becomes the heartbeat of the earth. So that the visceral connection with the rhythm becomes like a pulse and nourishes our body with the desire to express itself. The pulse is that feeling you get in your body when the drum resonates, it’s what runs through your veins when the music fills you up. It is also a metaphorical statement: we are still here. Alive and dancing. Is there a greater confession of life than having a strong pulse?” Each incarnation of dance reflects the magnificence of the world around us. “Traditional Pow Wow and social dances are often direct expressions of the natural world (observation of animals or nature, for example). That said, all forms of dance, be it modern, ballet, hip-hop, etc., all have this in common: dance is to the human body what wind is to Mother Earth; it moves freely, inspired by the surrounding elements.”

Jason was excited at the prospect of producing this show and humbled to highlight such a wide spectrum of creative ingenuity. “I knew from the start that it was going to be a wonderful project. Dances are so visual and to capture that and elevate each dancer’s craft was exciting for us. Diving deep into the art form itself and discovering so many variations was something very stimulating and pushed us creatively. It was incredibly satisfying to discover the different ways we could capture these dancers in their element and show how proficient they are. We were proud to provide a platform for these talented people to show and share their art. We are very grateful that APTN saw the value in the project and wanted to give us a window to bring it to the public.” The artists pour their hearts into their craft with such seriousness that it is impossible not to root for them. “Each dancer has a unique personality, so with 13 dancers there is definitely something for everyone. They all have compelling stories, with elements of their lives or dance style that resonate with audiences from all walks of life. They open up to us and speak so candidly that they are easy to get along with. And the performances are simply beautiful, so it’s pretty easy to be proud of these talented people from our communities.”

pulse aims to be a fun and enriching educational experience for the audience. “We hope they learn, discover and appreciate not only the art form, but also these brilliant dancers and what makes them who they are as indigenous dancers. I think they’ll be moved by the different performances we’ve managed to capture and they’ll be really impressed with what they see.” Art and movement often have the power to teach us in a way that words not being able to. pulse premieres on APTN on October 7.

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New series “Pulse” showcases talent of native dancers. Photo credit: Courtesy of Project Four PR.

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