Yvonne Chartrand, Artistic Director
Yvonne Chartrand is a contemporary choreographer and dancer as well as a national award-winning master Métis jigger. Her ancestors come from the Métis community of St. Laurent, Manitoba. She began performing with a traditional Métis dance group called The Gabriel Dumont Dancers in Winnipeg in 1986. She started work in contemporary dance in the same year, while attending the University of Manitoba Fine Arts Program. She has since trained in Winnipeg, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, New York, and Banff. She graduated from the Main Dance Place apprenticeship program in Vancouver in 1998, where she apprenticed with the Karen Jamieson Dance Company. She has worked with choreographers Robin Poitras, Paula Ross, Katherine Labelle, Helen Walkley and Michelle Olson. She is an original co-founder of Raven Spirit Dance Company. Yvonne attended the Aboriginal Dance Project at The Banff Centre in 2001 and 2002. She trained with Margo Kane’s Full Circle Ensemble, which produced The River Home for the Talking Stick Festival in 2005.
In 1999, with the assistance of a First People's Cultural Foundation grant, Yvonne created Marguerite, a contemporary dance solo that honours Métis women through an exploration of the life of Marguerite Monet dit Bellemeur, wife of the great Métis leader Louis Riel. Yvonne's most recent work is a contemporary dance solo production called Stories from St. Laurent that draws on material gathered from visits home to see her father in St. Laurent. It premiered in Vancouver in April 2009 at The Firehall Arts Centre.
Yvonne is the Artistic Director of Compaigni V’ni Dansi (created in 2000), whose name translates as “Come and Dance” in Mitchif. Dancers perform traditional Métis dance under the name of the Louis Riel Métis Dancers and contemporary works as Compaigni V'ni Dansi. The company has had the pleasure of performing for events as diverse as the Vancouver International Children's Festival, Heart of the City Festival, Talking Stick Festival, Noon Dance Series and many Aboriginal Day Festivals.
In 2003, Compaigni V’ni Dansi received its first Canada Council production grant, for a collaboration with Butoh master Yukio Waguri. The company produced A Poet And Prophet, inspired by the poetry and visions of Louis Riel. In 2004, they collaborated with Maria Campbell to create Gabriel’s Crossing. It was remounted as an Artist and Community Collaboration where Yvonne worked with six youth and toured the piece throughout BC for ArtStarts in Schools. The company then produced The Crossing (a dance trilogy inspired by these earlier works) which toured in Saskatoon and Vancouver celebrating Louis Riel Day. The Crossing inspired an Artist and Community Collaboration in Saskatoon, which included performances in July 2007 and 2008 at the Batoche National Historical Site of Canada. The 2008 Batoche project received an award for creative excellence from Tourism Saskatchewan.
Yvonne was awarded Women’s First Place for The Canadian Traditional Red River Jigging Championship, at the John Arcand Fiddle Fest from 2005-2007, and Overall Grand Champion for 2007 at Windy Acres Ranch outside of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She now teaches and judges at the Fiddle Fest. In 2005 she received Women’s First in the Western Canadian Métis Red River Jig Championship for MétisFest by The Edmonton Métis Cultural Dance Society. She also received First place for Most Traditional Dancer at Back to Batoche Days 2007.
Yvonne facilitates Métis dance workshops locally, provincially, and nationally, focusing on youth and community. She began teaching Métis traditional dance for the community with Winston Wuttonee’s Band Shagonapi at the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre in 2001. She worked in Margo Kane’s Confessions of an Indian Cowboy, teaching Métis dance during intermission. Yvonne has also taught children and youth through Mooshum’s Little Métis Jiggers, created in collaboration with Métis Family Services, and Métis Elder Bob Kelly in 2004-2005. She formed a new group in 2005-2006 called the West Coast Métis Jiggers, and has passed this opportunity on to her mentoring students. Yvonne has created ten new Métis dance groups in BC (with support from First Peoples' Heritage, Language and Culture Council and 2010 Legacies Now) as well as a group for the Oshawa Métis in Ontario.
Yvonne is on the board of directors of the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance and she is on the organizing committee for the Métis section of the Pacific West Performing Arts Festival.
Allyson McGrane, Administrative Director
Allyson McGrane is a Vancouver-based business consultant who specializes in the arts, non-profit and small business. She co-founded Left Right Minds Initiatives with her partner Shane Birley in January 2006. Current arts clients include Les Productions Figlio, Compaigni V’ni Dansi, NOW Orchestra, Uzume Taiko, Wild Excursions Performance, Ruby Slippers Theatre, Western Gold Theatre and Gateway Theatre. Allyson is the board president for Theatre Terrific – an organization focused on providing theatre education and performance opportunities for disabled artists.