Photos by Buio of BNB Studios
This summer, I had the immense honour to travel all across Turtle Island to perform, learn, teach and be in exchange with the communities of Seattle, Yellowknife, Florida and Toronto. I am also thankful to have been able to host guests from out-of-town to share their knowledge in the Winnipeg community.
Today was the first day of my 10th year of teaching in the public education system. It was also the start of my 5th year as the Learning Through Internship Coordinator at the Met Schools, where I have the privilege to talk about career development with hundreds of students everyday.
When I was kid, I would spend hours watching dancers on TV so that I could teach myself and my cousins their moves. At 17, I began working as a choreographer. Learning and teaching has and continues to bring me joy. My students and colleagues in both institutional and community programming have taught me so much. As I experience this milestone in my “professional” journey I have to ask myself, “Why is the work I do important?”
People often tell me I’m the busiest person they know. I’m busy because there is much work to be done to truly make our learning environments safe for all. I’m busy because as a leader I have to show up for my community and work in mutual solidarity with them. I am not their savour, but I am my own. I am busy because the work also includes healing myself by transmuting the fear, shame, jealousy, sadness and anger into something beautiful through my art and healing practices.
I was recently asked to describe my vision of leadership. Here’s how I responded:
Leaders are aware, acknowledge, and are committed to dismantling cisheteronormative white supremist capitalist imperialist patriarchal systems of oppression through their work. Leaders are liberation-orientated, trauma-informed and are committed to solidarity instead of saviourism. Leaders understand that everyone has something important to teach them irregardless of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, ability, class, body-type, educational level, or religious/spiritual practice. Great leaders understand their responsibility and use their privilege, talent and work to co-create with the community so that the next generation of learners experience a true and healthy sense of belonging, mastery, generosity, and independence. When great leaders are called upon they are conscious of their capacity and relay this to their community. When great leaders are held accountable for their actions, they listen, they keep their ego in-check, and pledge to do better. Great leaders wield their power and privilege in a way that empowers all in an equitable manner and not just self. Leaders are visionaries, but understand that in order to push culture forward it must be done so in mutual solidarity and reciprocity with collaborators.
Photo by: Maribeth Tabanera
Dear Summer 22’
deeply grateful for
every single moment and movement
to practice the arts in
solo and in-relation to
Lands and Waters
friends and lovers