Findings from the Survey with Aboriginal Dance Groups and Artists in Canada
This report is based on surveys of 50 Aboriginal dance groups and 26 Aboriginal dance artists in Canada. Given the relative lack of research into Aboriginal arts activity, a large portion of the report provides a basic profile of Aboriginal dance groups and artists as well as markets for Aboriginal dance. The report finds a diverse range of styles in Aboriginal dance in Canada, with some integration of other artforms, “including storytelling, theatre, singing, live music, masks, regalia and ceremonial items”. The report also notes that “dance has cultural functions and meanings” in Aboriginal society and that much importance is placed on linking dance and community as well as passing on what has been learned of dance.
Using the survey results, the report also summarizes the perceptions and awareness of the grant application process by Aboriginal dance groups and artists and a summary of their future needs. Some needs outlined in the report include more “professional capacity to generate revenues” and professional development “in the areas of producing and performing work, marketing and arts administration”. Other needs of Aboriginal dance groups range from infrastructure, office support and web design to increased funding. Some needs of Aboriginal dance artists include administrative support, professional development in self-promotion and management, as well as funding for salaries and dancer training.
This report is a valuable first step in understanding one area of Aboriginal arts activity in Canada. Much future work would be required to fill gaps in knowledge about other areas of Aboriginal arts activity and arts activity among culturally diverse Canadians.