Jeanette Kotowich (VAN)

Jeanette Kotowich is a Vancouver-based, independent, dance artist and choreographer of Cree Métis and European ancestry. Originally from Treaty 4 territory Saskatchewan, Jeanette creates work that reflects a Métis cultural narrative within the context of contemporary Indigenous dance performance and Indigenous futurism. Jeanette is currently choreographing a full-length, solo performance, Kisiskâwican, premiering 2021. She is a co-founder of Métis dance collective Acuhko Simowuk. During these times of global pandemic, Jeanette has been creating CO-VIDS, a series of short dances for film.

Previous works include: Eloise (2017) presented by Magnetic North, Vancouver International Dance Festival, Native Earth Performing Arts, Raven Spirit Dance, New Dance Horizons, and Bulkley Valley Concert Association. Steppin’ (2015) toured more than 35 stages across Canada, including BC, Ontario, Saskatchewan and the Yukon.

She works as a company dancer with Raven Spirit Dance, V’ni Dansi, and Dancers of Damelahamid. Jeanette co-ordinates the annual Coastal Dance Festival, is a member of the Full Circle First Nations Performing Arts Ensemble, and the Indigenous Performing Art Alliance. Jeanette has worked with artists Charles Koroneho, Carlos Rivera, Jessica McMann, Yvette Nolan, Deanna Peters, Tara Cheyenne-Friedenberg, and Su-Feh Lee. She is a Laureate of the Hnatyshyn Foundation REVEAL Indigenous Art Awards. Visit her website

Proposed Research

Creators Jeanette and Emily, team up in collaboration to explore Indigenous perspectives to  choreographic practices and methodologies to theatre making. As new collaborators, and dancers of mixed ancestry, we are inspired to be in process together to deepen our creative relationship and to shape our methodology through an Indigenous lens. We are compelled to investigate narratives from the feminine Indigenous perspective, and to research cultural perspectives for dance and theatre making through community dialogue and engagement. Inviting the wisdom of established Indigenous artists to be in dialogue with us, as we widen our perspectives and develop our skills as creators.  By listening carefully, respecting the land, and diving deeper into connection to the natural world that we are all grounded within, we seek to nourish our dance methodology and creative selves.

Jeanette and Emily both trace their families lines to prairie lands. Jeanette is originally from Treaty 4 territory Saskatchewan, and creates work that reflects a Métis cultural narrative within the context of contemporary Indigenous dance performance and Indigenous futurism. Emily is from Treaty 1 Territory and is a member of Beren Rivers First Nation (Treaty 5), her practice is rooted in contemporary dance but her work crosses into theatre, devising, choreography, and stage management. Dance and theatre have criss-crossed our creative paths for the past three years. Now, in this time of stillness, we have come together to strengthen one another and build our collective dance methodology with the guidance of selected established Indigenous artists who have gone before us. Marsi, Hiy Hiy, Meegwetch to those who so generously share with us.

“We are happy to work with YLDE to share our overall research and finding publicly and looking for meaningful and innovative ways to engage in online platforms. We believe that the research work will shed light onto what we will share, and how. We are keen to respond to the shifting creative landscapes of online programming, and also intend to share our meta data (ex. conversations), as by-products of the creative process, to deeply engage the audience in our creative explorations.” – Jeanette Kotowich + Emily Solstice Tait

landscapes of body, site, memory, remnants, ancestry, and Spirit – an exploratory photoshoot with artist in residency Jeanette Kotowich through the YLDE residency

site specific – 35mm experimental film photography collaboration between dance artist, Jeanette Kotowich and photographer, sharai mustatia (aka princess shredder). /

As mixed blood Cree/Métis artists we embrace the complexity of life, connection to land & body, ancestral knowledge, and futurism in the layers of this work. Multiple exposures captured in these analogue images have not been edited in post. We embrace surprise and the reveal with deep reverence for the land that holds us – the ancestral, unceded and occupied Squamish (Sḵwxw̱ ú7mesh), Tsleil-Waututh (səl ̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ) and Musqueam (xwməθkwəyə̓ m) territories.

Photos by Sharai Mustatia