Mohawk Indian dancer Santee Smith, performing “NeoIndigenA”

Hartwick College to Present Iroquois Dancer Santee Smith

February 24, 2017

Hartwick College will host Mohawk Indian dancer Santee Smith for a performance of “NeoIndigenA” (“New Indigenous Woman”) on Tuesday, March 7 at 8 p.m. in Slade Theatre, Yager Hall, on the College campus. Admission is free for Hartwick College students, $10 for the general public, and $5 for non-Hartwick students, faculty and staff, and senior citizens.

Smith is the founder and artistic director of Kaha:wi Dance Theatre (KDT) of Six Nations and Toronto, Canada.

“NeoIndigenA” promises to be both “transcendent and primordial,” according to the Theatre. The dance “is an elemental search that fiercely cycles through the sacred portals between Skyworld, Earthworld, and Underworld. [Smith’s] solo journey places her in search of humanity, ancient ways of knowing, and spiritual evolution, while intuitively discovering the sacred pathways of the human connection to self and universe.”

She conceived, choreographed, and produced “NeoIndigenA,” which premiered in Toronto in 2014. The music is composed by Smith, world-music legend Donald Quan, and Inuit throat-singer Tanya Tagaq, who also performs in the piece.

This will be KDT’s fourth performance at Hartwick since 2005, and the last show on a tour that featured performances in the Canadian provinces of Nunavut, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories, Alberta, and British Columbia, and in Minnesota in the U.S.

Smith’s work began by exploring the intersection of modern and classical dance with traditional Iroquois social dance. She has expanded her repertoire by creating dance programs in collaboration with Indigenous artists in many countries, most recently in Japan and New Zealand. Her artistic excellence has been recognized with many awards, including a number of Dora Mavor Moore awards for Outstanding Female Performance, Outstanding Lighting Design, Outstanding Sound Design/Composition, Outstanding Production in the Dance Division, and Outstanding Performance (Ensemble) in the Dance Division. She also has a Gemini Award for Best Performance in a Performing Arts Program or Series, and a Canadian Aboriginal Music Award for Best Producer and Best Song for her Kaha:wi CD.

The performance – part of a slate of College events in March commemorating Women’s History Month – is sponsored by the Foreman Institute of Creative and Performing Arts.

For more information on Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, visit

Reservations may be made by email at or by leaving a message at (607) 431-4227.

For more information on the event, contact Professor of English Dr. Robert Bensen at, or (607) 431-4902.