Atlas Studios Halifax
Pjila'si! Welcome!
Mawita’nej aqq amalkaltinej (Let’s gather and dance) aims to generate new ways to support, connect and create networks for Indigenous movement artists in Atlantic Canada.

This pilot project is led by shalan joudry and Sarah Prosper, with guidance from Awti Guides (steering committee). We are engaging Indigenous artists to learn what is needed to enhance their dance/movement-based art practices, with the intention to provide Indigenous-led artistic development opportunities.

The Awti Guides are Chris Sanipass (Elder), Possesom Paul and Meagan Musseau.

The project includes:
Artist engagement through online, phone and in-person conversations, and surveys to discover what artists need or envision to further develop their careers, and to create a network of movement-based artists in Atlantic Canada.

  • Events at Petapan 2024 (May 29-June 2) to gather dance and movement artists.
  • Sharing our findings and learnings from the project with the broader arts community and report to funders.

Administrative support for the Mawita’nej aqq amalkaltinej is provided by Mocean Dance and Nestuita’si Storytelling, with funding from the Canada Council for the Arts SEED Funding. Other partners include Raven Spirit Dance and Mawi’Art.

Note: We are using the term “movement-based artists” to encompass the breadth and intersectionality of artists who self-identify as working primarily with their bodies including (but not limited to) dancers/choreographers (traditional and contemporary), physical oral storytellers, circus performers, physical performance artists, etc.
How to get involved:
Are you a movement-based Indigenous artist based in Atlantic Canda? We want to hear from you!
1) Fill out our survey

Please fill out our survey. The survey should take between 10-20 minutes to complete.

Information from the surveys will be compiled and high level information will be included in our report with the intention to share the broad level needs of surveyed participants . Your name and personal information will not be shared in the report.

If you would like assistance to fill out the survey, please contact us and we'll set up a meeting.

2) Have a conversation with project leaders

If you would like to have a chat with Sarah or shalan, please email [email protected] or call (902)-425-4908 to set up a meeting. It would be about a 30 min conversation.
3) Attend our online gathering

We’ll be hosting an online meeting with artists over Zoom. Join in the conversation, which will cover similar questions and topics as our online survey. Click on the date below to register.

June 17, 7 - 8pm (ADT)
Petapan 2024
Movement-based artists attending Petapan 2024 are invited to gathering and share during these events. (More info coming soon)
Join our mailing list 
Help us to stay in touch with you and to provide you with updates on the project and future opportunities and initiatives.
Meet the Organizers
Project Co-Leaders:
shalan joudry
     shalan joudry is a L'nu/Mi’kmaw mother and narrative artist working in many mediums. She is a poet, playwright, podcast producer, storyteller and actor, as well as a cultural interpreter. Having worked as a professional oral storyteller for well over a decade, her first full-length play, Elapultiek, was commissioned and then produced by Two Planks and a Passion Theatre which toured in 2018 and 2019. Her one-woman theatrical show, Koqm, debuted at King’s Theatre, Annapolis Royal, in 2021 then toured the province in 2022. Since her training at the Native Theatre School and Banff Contemporary Aboriginal Dance programs, shalan has been weaving music and dance into her theatrical work. shalan started Nestuita'si Storytelling in 2021 out of a need to produce and facilitate L'nu-led performance and other arts work. shalan lives in her home territory of Kespukwitk (southwest Nova Scotia) with her family in their community of L’sitkuk (Bear River First Nation) where she is researching and working on reclaiming her L’nu language.

Photo credit: Dan Froese
sarah prosper
     Wisunn na Sarah Prosper (she/they/nekm), Mikmaw/L’nu e’pite’s of the Eskasoni Mi’kmaq First Nation. Amalkewinu (dancer) holds a BSc Therapeutic Recreation, is a MA in Leisure Studies student, and a proclaimed community artist of the Wabanaki East Coast. Her first work created as an artistic director and choreographer is the Merritt Award winning show SAMQWAN in 2021-2023 at Highland Arts, Neptune, Stratford Festival and 2023 Canada Games. Dancing with Mocean Dance, Kinetic Studios, House of Eights, Painted Dance Co, Nestuita'si, and community focused initiatives, Prosper's community work varies between wellness and healing focused methods specific to community needs, and shares a curated dance workshop “Moving in Mi’kma’ki.” Prosper collaborates, creates, and moves with ms+t no’kmaq, all her relations, in a fluid identity uplifting pursuit. An award winner of the 2022 Nova Scotia Indigenous Artist Recognition Award, she performs and creates on National stages in collaboration with world renowned artists. Prosper's practice encompasses an Indigenous/Mi’kmaq lens that deepens the threads of respect and reciprocity to dance, movement, social sciences, social justice, mental health & the land. Her work intends to connect, rebuild, and unite.

Photo credit: Sherri Photography
Awti guides
Chris Sanipass
Chris Sanipass is a Mikmaq man from Indian Island, New Brunswick. He is a men's traditional champion dancer and storyteller. He travels across north America competing and sharing his culture with others. He is known as a knowledge keeper in the Mi'kmaq territory and a beadwork artist. Chris is a husband to his wife Rebecca of 36 years and and a grandfather of 6.

Photo credit: Damien Dauphin
Possesom Paul
Possesom’ [Ba-zaz-um] is a Wolastoqiyik multi-disciplinary artist, curator, director and cultural educator. Possesom is a major contributor and resource to the Indigenous artistic community leading a new generation into a significant period of growth, development and opportunity across the entire Atlantic region. He is a member of the Wabanaki Grass Dance Society, and a keeper of traditional knowledge. As a champion dancer, accomplished director and actor, educator & choreographer — he has toured throughout turtle island, sharing knowledge, engaging audiences and community in critical thought towards understanding of their own origins, and the first peoples of the world.

Meagan Musseau
Meagan Musseau is a L’nu woman, artist, and dancer from Elmastukwek, Ktaqmkuk territory (Bay of Islands, Newfoundland). She nourishes an interdisciplinary arts practice by working with customary art forms and new media, such as basketry, beadwork, land-based performance, video and installation.

Photograph by Candace Kennedy

Supporting Organizations
Nestuita'si is a small L’nu company based out of L’sitkuk that aims to share stories that re-imagine and present L’nu (Mi’kmaw) culture, ecological practice, and social complexities through a broad mosaic of contemporary methodologies as well as deeply-rooted L’nu narratives.
Based in Kjipuktuk/Halifax, Nova Scotia Mocean Dance is an award-winning contemporary dance company. Led by Co-Artistic Directors Susanne Chui and Sara Coffin, Mocean provides fertile ground for artistic endeavours and potential in the field of dance. We share perspectives of our region and create opportunities to engage the local ecology and connect to the national performing arts community. Through our work, we aim to support Halifax as a hotspot for creation, research, experimentation, collaboration, and performance. Recognized nationally as a leading dance company from the Atlantic Region, the company was honoured with The Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Art Award in 2016 for Canvas 5 x 5, which was the first time this esteemed provincial award was given to a Nova Scotia dance work. Founded in 2001 by Carolle Crooks Fernando, Sarah Rozee, Sara Harrigan, Alicia Orr MacDonald, and Lisa Phinney Langley, Mocean has been a proud resident company of Halifax Dance since 2002..
Mawi’Art: Wabanaki Artist Collective is the only pan-Atlantic, Indigenous led organization that supports Indigenous artists in the region. Established in 2013, we organize and host events for and with our member artists; provide training and mentorship opportunities, and access to physical and digital markets; serve as a hub for communication and network building; and are increasingly recognized regionally and nationally as a solid organizational model for promoting Indigenous art and artists.
The artistic vision of Raven Spirit Dance Society is to share stories from an Indigenous worldview. Our medium is contemporary dance; and, we incorporate other expressions such as traditional dance, theatre, puppetry and multi-media to tell these stories.
By sharing this work on local, national and international stages, Raven Spirit Dance reaffirms the vital importance of dance to the expression of human experience and to cultural reclamation. Raven Spirit Dance aims to explore how professional artistic work is responsive and responsible to the community it is a part of and to continue to redefine dance’s place in diverse community settings. Raven Spirit is Vancouver-based yet indelibly tied to the Yukon through its projects and inspirations, as our Co-Artistic Director, Michelle Olson is from the Tr’ondek Hwech’in First Nation.
Contact us:
Mocean Dance
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 902-425-4908

Nestuita'si Storytelling
Email: [email protected]

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