Hartwick to Host Kaha:wi Dance Theatre January 18

January 4, 2010

Hartwick College will present "A Story Before Time," a performance by Kaha:wi Dance Theatre from Six Nations, Ontario, Canada, on Monday, January 18, 2010. The performance will begin at 8 p.m. in Slade Theatre, Yager Hall on the Hartwick campus.

Tickets for the performance are $10 for general admission and $5 for students and senior citizens (free for Hartwick students, faculty, and staff). Tickets can be reserved by calling 607-431-4902 and will be held under the reserved name at the door for pick-up and payment prior to the performance. "A Story Before Time" is a presentation of Hartwick's Foreman Creative and Performing Arts Series.

"A Story Before Time" brings the age-old Iroquois creation story to life through music, dance, and theatre. Visually stunning, musically rich, and theatrically compelling, the spectacular dance work is entertaining and insightful for families and children. The performance presents both a Sky World and the Earth World. Animal characters swim across the stage, trees grow from silk, and characters--including SkyWoman, Hanging Flower, West Wind, The Bent One, and Holder of the Heavens--weave the magical story.

The journey begins in a wondrous Sky World, where Sky Beings dance like stars in the cosmos. When SkyWoman falls through the roots of the Celestial Tree to the Water World below, life on Turtle's back takes shape. Animals by her side, SkyWoman sings and dances her world into existence. Animal characters include otters, geese, chipmunk, raccoon, deer, and muskrat. Composer Donald Quan created an exquisite musical score that blends traditional Iroquoian social songs and contemporary music incorporating both Mohawk and Cayuga languages.

Smith's company has performed twice before at Hartwick College: In 2005 she brought her best-known and critically acclaimed work, "Kaha:wi," and in 2007, "Here on Earth."

A member of the Mohawk Nation's Turtle Clan from Six Nations near Brantford, Ontario, Canada, Smith found dance at an early age. At 3, she began studying ballet, and from 1982-88 she studied at the National Ballet School of Canada in Toronto. Smith holds a bachelor's degree in kinesiology from Hamilton's McMaster University and a master of arts degree in dance from York University in Toronto. Smith choreographed her own work, based in Iroquoian and modern dance traditions, in the 1990s. In 2005, Smith formed her dance company, Kaha:wi Dance Theatre.

The troupe's mission is "to create and promote contemporary artistic expression that reflects and honours the integrity of the Indigenous cultural aesthetic and world view," says Ms. Smith. Her works aim at creating interest in Native American expression "through dance and its associated disciplines of music, storytelling, theatre, and design." Her company has toured Canada, New Zealand, and Japan, and regularly performs in the U.S. at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC, and at Hartwick College.

For additional information, contact Hartwick College Professor of English Robert Bensen at 607-431-4902 or

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Hartwick College is a private liberal arts and sciences college of 1,480 students, located in Oneonta, NY, in the northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Hartwick’s expansive curriculum emphasizes a uniquely experiential approach to the liberal arts. Through personalized teaching, collaborative research, a unique January Term, a wide range of internships, and limitless study-abroad opportunities, Hartwick ensures that students are prepared for the world ahead. Strong financial aid and scholarship programs keep a Hartwick education affordable.

Contact: Christopher Lott
Phone: 607-431-4030