Raven Spirit Dance | Bios
Raven Spirit Dance creates, develops and produces exceptional contemporary dance that is rooted in both a traditional and contemporary Aboriginal worldview.
dance, aboriginal, vancouver, british columbia, first nations, creativity, artistic, movement, culture, indigenous, contemporary
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Bios

 
MICHELLE OLSON – Artistic Director
 
Michelle OlsonMichelle Olson is a member of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation (Yukon) and the Artistic Director of Raven Spirit Dance. She studied dance at the University of New Mexico with Bill Evans (contemporary) and Andrew Garcia (Pueblo Social Dances), Banff Centre for the Arts in Aboriginal Dance under the direction of Marrie Mumford and Alejandro Roncerio and furthered her performance training with Full Circle First Nations as an Ensemble member under the direction of David MacMurray Smith and Margo Kane. Through her studies with the Laban/Bartenieff and Somatic Studies International, she received her certification in movement analysis.
 
Michelle works in areas of dance, theatre and opera as a choreographer, performer and movement coach and her work has been seen on stages across Canada. Selected choreographic credits include Northern Journey(Raven Spirit Dance), Gathering Light (Raven Spirit Dance), Mozart’s Magic Flute (Vancouver Opera), The Ecstasy of Rita Joe (Western Canada Theatre/National Arts Centre), Death of a Chief (Native Earth Performing Arts/National Arts Centre), Ashes on the Water (Neworld Theatre/Raven Spirit Dance) and Evening in Paris (Raven Spirit Dance). She is the recipient of the inaugural Vancouver International Dance Festival Choreographic Award in 2013.
 
STARR MURANKO – Artistic Associate
 
Starr MurankoStarr Muranko is a dancer/choreographer & Artistic Associate with Raven Spirit Dance. Her work has been presented at the Dance Centre/Dance in Vancouver, Dancing on the Edge, Talking Stick Festival, Crimson Coast Dance and the Weesageechak Festival. She is a proud member of the Dancers of Damelahamid touring across Canada and internationally to New Zealand, Peru and Ecuador.
 
She holds a BFA in Dance/Cultural Studies (SFU’s School for Contemporary Arts) and has presented her research at the World Indigenous People’s Conference in Education (WIPCE), Dance Alliance of the Americas and serves as a board member of the Dance Centre and CADA/WEST.
 
As a dance educator she has taught dance through the Native Education College, Roundhouse Community Arts Centre and ArtsStarts as well as in her home territory of James Bay, ON in the communities of Moose Factory and Attawapiskat. Starr celebrates her mixed ancestry of Cree, Metis and German in all of her work.
 
JEANETTE KOTOWICH – Special Projects Coordinator
 

Photo credit: Yvonne Chew

Photo credit: Yvonne Chew

Jeanette Kotowich is a Vancouver based professional contemporary Aboriginal dance and performing artist. She holds her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Simon Fraser University, BC. Jeanette is a seasonal dancer with Dancers of Damelahamid, Raven Spirit Dance, V’ni Dansi, and creates her own work as an independent artist. Jeanette is the Artistic Associate for the annual Coastal First Nations Dance Festival, a member of the Full Circle First Nations Performing Arts Ensemble, the Indigenous Performing Art Alliance & a founding board member/secretary for Savage Society. She works in arts administration in areas of marketing, social media design, out-reach coordination, as well as, stage management & production. Honoring her Cree Métis heritage (originally from Saskatchewan) as a source of inspiration and reference point in her work, Jeanette is passionate about investigating a blend of contemporary and Indigenous practices. movementhealing.ca