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Opening doors to First Nations culture

SLCC remains open to public throughout Olympics, hosting range of performances and events

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On Monday, Feb. 15 and Wednesday, Feb. 17, the Lil'wat Nation will present three of their best dancers and storytellers: Gerald Gabriel (Takem wi saquta), Bobby Stager and Marie Rosalee (Joseph) Abraham.

On Tuesday, Feb. 16 and Saturday, Feb. 27, the Welth Tima Kexwusem (Culture Bringing People Together) dance group of the Squamish Nation will perform in traditional regalia of cedar, wool, buckskin and paddle.

Alex Wells, a three-time world champion hoop dancer form the Lil'wat Nation, shares the magical story of the creation of life through one of the most difficult and advanced dance styles in a performance on Thursday, Feb. 18 at 11 a.m. Later that same day and again on Sunday, Feb. 21, the Kalan wi group presents a reggae-infused world beat coupled with the traditional hand drumming of the Lil'wat Nation with Leroy Joe on guitar and vocals, Vania Stager on vocals and Rich Doucet on percussion.

Other performances include traditional song and dance from the Lil'wat Nation's Ishwalh dancers and storytelling with SLCC ambassador Tanina Williams.

On top of their own rich roster of cultural programming the SLCC will also play host to some very special performances that are part of the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad. Namely, three special performances from visiting First Nations groups: the We yah hani nah Coastal First Nations Dance Festival 2010, Artcirq and Raven Stole the Sun.

We yah hani nah Coastal First Nations Dance Festival 2010 features the Dancers of Damelahamid, a traditional Gitksan dance group from Skeena River in northwestern B.C. They will perform a series of masked dances, stories and songs on Sunday, Feb. 14 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

"I'm definitely excited to see them," Lewis said.

Artcirq is a Nunavut-based arts collective founded in 1998 in Igloolik following the suicides of two young people. With guidance from Montreal's Cirque ...loize and Isuma Productions, the founders of Artcirq set out to bridge the gap between generations and cultures. Today, Artcirq has grown into a circus like no other, winning over world-wide audiences with their acrobatics, juggling and clowns coupled with Inuit throat singing, drumming and traditional games. They are set to perform on Saturday, Feb. 20 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

"They've had almost Cirque du Soleil training, so that's going to be really cool to check out, as well," Lewis said.

Finally, Red Sky Performance troupe blends theatre, dance and humour in their presentation of Raven Stole the Sun, the story of Raven, a magical creature of impulse and curiosity, who hatches a scheme for stealing the stars, the moon and the sun, but ends up bringing light to the people of the world.

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