Feature Friday: Anishinaabe Renaissance Kwe – Sarain Carson Fox
Sarain Carson Fox is one of Canada’s most innovative, up and coming multi-disciplinary Indigenous artists. A proud Anishinaabe woman and Midewiwin Society member, (the traditional Ojibway Medicine Society), this is a kwe who believes that we connect as Anishinaabe people through our traditional medicines. Since 2012 she has made it her personal mandate to include our youth in all the work that she does in one way or another. She splits her time between her professional dance projects and teaching and sharing dance with youth; primarily at-risk Indigenous youth.
Sarain never stops. She’s a full-on road warrior who travels the red road bringing her arts education workshops all over the nation. She’s currently touring a show in which she acted as the cultural advisor and choreographed, called, “The 8th Fire,” which she choreographed. The multidisciplinary piece is a collaboration between Theatre New Brunswick and The New Brunswick Aboriginal Artists Collective that tells the story of the Seventh Fire Prophecies through dance, song, traditional story-telling, theatre and music. Two modern day children who set off on a journey to reconnect with their ancestors and find themselves in a magical, expansive world. A show for all ages; expressing the the transformative nature of family, culture and the subsequent power of the natural world … and our place within it. The show is in the middle of hitting over 85 schools and communities in New Brunswick until April 2015.
All the while, Sarain is preparing to release her first full-length performance called, “The Red Road Block”, featuring some of Canada’s top talent: Cris Derksen, Digging Roots, Leonard Sumner and Kia Benbow. Last year she performed a smaller excerpt from Red Road Block called, “The Missing” for Fresh Blood 2014 at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto.
If you’re’ looking for more, it doesn’t end there. In May she’s premiering, “Fatty Legs” with Xara Young Women’s choir in Halifax in the brand new Halifax Library Theatre. Fatty Legs is a story of a young girl’s experience win residential schools, based on a children’s book by,
In all that she does, Sarain is focused on the idea of saying yes, and is passionate about passing that mantra onto the youth that she works with. She endeavours to teach them to express themselves without any social barriers. To dive deeply into the idea of dance not only as a technique, but to explore social dances and how they (and others) communicate through dance. Her interactive, arts based curriculum teaches them to explore and understand how dance it affects them and how it can be a positive part of their everyday life if they choose to let it be so. The core values that she wants to install with the kids she works with is to: live a healthy lifestyle, to eat healthy and to understand the importance of exercise and how it can be disguised as dance; as a fun activity. She incorporates all kinds of modern and traditional dance forms, especially the traditional Anishinaabe form of, “Round Dancing” which only recently has become known outside of Indigenous circles as a protest dance (Idle No More). Although actually, round dancing is about community coming together. A Pow Wow just doesn’t happen without many sweet round dances going down.
From Jen: I’ve worked with Sarain since she was a young teen. At first we began as peers, dancing in the same show. As time went on, I followed her career closely and when I became a television and film producer I was able to hire her. I’ve worked with her on the Indspire Awards where she choreographed and performed in a stunning Pas De Deux. It was a vision I had in my mind for many months and she brought it to life beautifully! Most recently I’ve written a factual TV series where she is our central character. I think Sarain is a super talent. As a dancer, actor and aboriginal role model, Sarain never seizes to amaze me.
Sarain as an arts educator:
Sarain as a professional dancer:
All photography used with permission via: Ratul Debnath Photography.