Q&A with Sophie Dow
June 20, 2023

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Sophie Dow. Photo by PC Audrianna Martin Del Campo.

As part of Indigenous History Month, we shine a spotlight on multidisciplinary creative and contemporary artist, Sophie Dow who created a piece for The National Ballet of Canda’s Open Space programme. She shares some of her role models in the Indigenous community and how she personally connects with this month.

June is Indigenous History Month in Canada. Can you tell us who are your some of your role models from the Indigenous community?

I look up to SO many beautiful folx in the community. Some of my greatest inspirations and role models include Santee Smith, Olivia C. Davies, Margaret Grenier, Cole Alvis, Yvonne Chartrand, Barbara Diabo, Beany John, Christine Friday, Michelle Olson and Starr Muranko to name a few, while I am also often moved by every person I have the privilege of connecting with.

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Sophie Dow. Photo by Yvonne Chew.

You participated in The National Ballet of Canada’s Open Space programme recently. What piece did you work on and what was the experience like?

The piece I was able to work on during my time in The National Ballet of Canada's Open Space programme is entitled Agrimony, which has grown into a 65-minute collaboration featuring four dancers moving and weaving a physical narrative to a full-length music album, written and performed by Laura Reznek, with Black Dog String Quartet and Eric Breitenbach. Coming into the studios at the National Ballet was a life-changing experience. I arrived with a general set of ideas and notions of the materials I wanted to create, however having full days in studio with my team, we dove further into our ideas, philosophies and techniques. I began the residency with a few seed ideas and left with an entire framework for a show that has now received funding and is set to premiere in the spring of 2024.

How are you personally recognizing Indigenous History Month?

I'm always in a space and process of listening and honouring relationships. I was adopted and not raised with much knowledge around my M├ętis heritage and traditions until my early adult years; therefore, I'm in a process of picking up the pieces, connecting with community and Elders and learning so that by knowing where I come from, I can carve a path forward for those to come. I celebrate the visibility and access to our histories that this month brings forward, however for me, this is not just a month of recognition, it is a daily, weekly, yearly ritual and movement forward.

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