23 Jun 2022

Aeriosa Dance Society


Dancing Through The Seasons
Artistic Director's Message

In Canada, June is designated National Indigenous History Month and today June 21st we celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day.

Happy National Indigenous People's Day to our all neighbours friends, mentors, colleagues, and peers. We honour your accomplishments and celebrate you, your families and communities. 


We recognize our responsibilities as guests on the unceded territories of the xwməθkwəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, and Səl̓ílwətaɬ in Vancouver and the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ and ƛaʔuukwiiʔatḥ in Ucluelet and Tofino. We are committed to walking on the path toward right relations with respect, care and humility, acknowledging the longstanding connections that exist between First Peoples' and these lands and waters.

All my relations, 
Julia Taffe


New Intro to Vertical Dance Classes
Summer Session Starts July 10th
Click on image to follow link to registration

Looking Back 
Dancing to Remember Slide Show
An evening of performances marking the 10th Anniversary of Butterflies in Spirit Dance Group raising awareness of MMIWG2S and honouring lost loved ones. Co-produced by Aeriosa Dance Society & Butterflies in Spirit

Looking Back 
2022 Tofino Tree Festival 
presented by Aeriosa Dance Society
Aeriosa dance artist Cara Siu greets an ancient cedar located in  ƛaʔuukʷiʔatḥ Tribal Parks in the Ha'uukmin Watershed.

Photo credit: Julia Carr
The long-awaited premiere of Habitats & Camouflage  Aeriosa's nature-based site work collaboration with Sarah Fuller took place on May 27th and 28th as part of the Tofino Tree Festival presented by Aeriosa Dance Society. 

Artistic Team:
Choreographer Julia Taffe, Visual Artist Sarah Fuller, Music Artist Keri Latimer
Dance Artists: Julia Carr, Meghan Goodman and Cara Siu

Safety Director/Rigging Designer Colin Zacharias
Head Rigger Michael Flynn

Photo credit: Julia Taffe
The Tofino Tree Festival is a new annual arts festival presented by Aeriosa Dance Society.

Encounter Music in Nature performances in Tofino and Ucluelet featured beautifully woven soundscapes by Keri Latimer with local music artists Myles Morrison (guitar) and Lex Venn (crystal bowls). 

Photo credit: Julia Taffe

Isaac Whitehead-Flynn participated in the Tofino Tree Festival Tree Dance Experience.  Isaac's Dad Michael Flynn, says 
"Aeriosa 2.0 will be strong".

Michael was one of the four original Aeriosa dancers and  now works as our Head Rigger.

Photo credit: Michael Flynn
Local residents participated in the Tofino Tree Festival Tree Dance Experience  facilitated by Aeriosa's dancers and riggers.
Photo credit: Julia Carr
Inspiration In The Arts 
Bob S7aplek Baker
Photo of Bob Baker from Dancing To Remember
Photo Credit: Chandra Krown
By now many of our newsletter readers and community members may have attended a performance by beloved Squamish Artist and Elder Bob S7aplek Baker. Let's take a moment to learn more about this awesome human being, and raise our hands up to "Uncle Bob."

Born and Raised Squamish, Bob is a Cultural Advisor and Performer that has been exercising his Culture through humour, stories, song, music and dance for over 35 years. His Squamish ancestral name is S7aplek and he was given the Hawaiian name Lanakila (meaning Victory or Triumphant). He is a co-founder and spokesperson for Spakwus Slulem (Eagle Song Dancers) Cultural Performance Group.

S7aplek's accomplishments range from reviving ocean/sea-going canoes, sharing cultural history, traditions, spirituality, legends and stories of the Squamish Ancestors, developing Indigenous Cultural projects, conducting opening and blessing ceremonies  as well as skippering canoes, singing songs, composing music and creating dances. He has performed throughout the Lower Mainland, Squamish, Whistler, Vancouver Island, Japan, Switzerland, Taiwan and Hawaii with Spawkus Slulem.

On April 26, 2022 The West Vancouver Youth Band and Spakwus Slulem (Eagle Song Dancers) performed The Gathering of Eagles Squamish Symphony, a history-making symphonic piece at the Chief Joe Mathias Centre

This special concert opened with Spakwus Slulem performing the traditional songs gifted by Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) Composer Bob S7aplek Baker, followed by the the premiere of Squamish Symphony, the reimagining of those songs as scored by composer Robert (Bob) Buckley.  

This four-year cross-cultural musical transmission between composers has also led to S7aplek's songs being learned, shared and performed by university and college bands in the USA, Japan and in Europe. Congratulations to S7aplek and Mr. Buckley!

    WVYB Symphonic Band - The Gathering Of Eagles
    Read Article
    "West Van Youth Band and Squamish Eagle Song Dancers make symphonic history" 
    For Canada Together Canada Day celebrations on July 1st at Canada Place in Vancouver, activities are organized with local Indigenous communities. The theme is “Weaving together the fabric of a nation” chosen to honour Canada's diversity and set an intention for the day to gather, celebrate, learn and share.
      You can catch Bob and Spawkus Slulem at:
    • 11am - Indigenous Blessing and Welcome 
      on the Jack Poole Plaza Main Stage 
    • 11:30 am – Spakwus Slulem (Eagle Song Dancers) with the West Vancouver Youth Orchestra on the Kids Stage 
    Special Connections
    Bob S7aplek Baker
    Aeriosa and Bob S7aplek Baker have been collaborating for many years and we always cherish our time together. We wanted to share Bob's perspective with you also.

    What is your connection to Aeriosa?

    Our connection is through cultural performance. Julia Taffe approached me with the concept of Aeriosa arriving from the sky and that idea blew me away. I had a song that wasn’t finished yet that I had started for something else. It was a mountain song to represent the spirit of high places and it also represented the Thunderbird landing from the sky. We followed the protocol for Canoe Landings but applied the protocol to arrivals from the sky.

    The attraction was the concept of air presentations and to see things in that atmosphere; the endeavour of movement coming down from the sky. I thought we should have a way to welcome our family arriving from the sky.

    Now that song Thunderbird has taken on a life of its own. We  gifted the song to the Git Hayetsk Mask Dancers and they presented me with a Wild Woman mask carved by co-artistic director Mike Dangeli.

    How do you recommend people recognize National Indigenous History Month and celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day ?

    IN EVERY WAY!! Go out eat bannock,  research local information. Identity is at the forefront; who are these people? Who do they represent? What is it that they do? What is important to them? What do they have locally?

    We still have that Hollywood type of mentality with "Indians" on  horseback. Folks should find out as much as they can about what the local Indigenous population has been doing for the past 10,000 years.

    I am taking part in many different local celebrations in June, I have a very full schedule including:

    • June 19th - father's day - 3 events
    • June 21st - 4 different events
    • June 23rd - I'm going out with canoes and 120 kids!  We will be doing a couple of waves of 4/5 canoes heading up towards Coquitlam and Port Moody. 
    • June 25th - Dragon Boat Festival
    • July 1st - Canada Together at Jack Poole Plaza

    I am also doing a lot of convocations - preparing and gifting eagle feathers to graduates. Gifting the Eagle Feathers is a good way to mark their progress on their journeys in education and life.

    What is most important and relevant to you as an artist?

    It is the authenticity of what we are doing that is important. Truthfulness follows from being true to our culture and traditions. Authenticity comes in with validation of what we are doing. When we perform for our Elders and they approve we are on the right track. Every time I presented one of my songs and the Elders accepted it, I knew I was on a good path.

    Also I never forgot my father's words, "a change is as good as a rest". You’ve got to have play . Get out and do something! At my disposal I have the canoes, my stand up paddle board and my motorcycle. Surfing and dreaming about surfing keeps me young.

    What inspired you to collaborate with the Youth Band??

    When the composer Bob Buckley heard the songs he asked if he could reimagine our music. He has worked with big names in Canadian music including Michael Bublé and Céline Dion.  

    We discussed how in Squamish culture the spirit of music is good medicine that helps us with what we are looking for. It is something we need to find our way. With Mr Buckley's re-imagination the melody is the same but the composition is longer and it builds featuring different orchestral instrument sections. 

    When you think about 'flying', what do you imagine or envision?

    I imagine what it is like trying to fly and I think about where people's spirits are when they watch Aeriosa. It is almost a fantasy world. The performers transcend that real physical effort so we are getting the experience of human beings flying through the air. That consciousness is a natural high, we get high off culture and it is a good time to appreciate what we have and what we share together.

    Doing this work together gets us to a place where we can see and understand our protocol. We are always in a good mood afterwards. It helps us connect to the ancestors, it is like a roadmap giving us a sense of direction, showing us where we can and should go down the cultural path. Our eyes and minds are wide open when we are doing the work.

    To  learn more about Bob S7aplek Baker and Spakwus Slulem visit:
    Tuesday, June 21 2022
    National Indigenous People's Day

    We acknowledge we are situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the Semiahma (Semiahmoo), q̓ʷɑ:n̓ƛ̓ən̓ (Kwantlen), and q̓ic̓əy̓ (Katzie) land-based nations.

    Visit Holland Park in Surrey City Centre 3-8pm on June 21 for
    National Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration & Wellness Event

    Welcome 4:30pm
    Community BBQ 5-7pm
    Closing 7:30pm

    Aeriosa Dance Society · 25-717 West 8th Ave · Vancouver, BC V5Z 1C9 · Canada