Sandra Laronde Appointed Director of Aboriginal Arts at The Banff Centre
For immediate release
November 9, 2007
An award-winning director, choreographer, dancer, actor, producer, and creative leader, Sandra Laronde has been appointed director of Aboriginal Arts at The Banff Centre. While directing programs for artists at the Centre in both fine and performing arts, Laronde will also continue as artistic director of Red Sky Performance, the thriving Toronto-based performing arts company she founded in 2000.“Through The Banff Centre, I look forward to playing a vital role in developing and cultivating the artistic excellence and cultural vibrancy of the First Peoples who have enriched this land so deeply,” Laronde says.
Originally from the Teme-Augama-Anishnaabe (People of the Deep Water) in Temagami, northern Ontario, Laronde has led Red Sky Performance to an international profile, known for its artistry, creative excellence, and innovation. Producing original works for adult and family audiences on local, national, and international stages, Red Sky has actively shaped contemporary Aboriginal performance in dance, theatre, and music, bringing together Indigenous peoples from regions around the world.
“Aboriginal Arts has a rich history at The Banff Centre and we believe it has an exciting future”, says Sarah Iley, vice president of programming for the Centre. “We are delighted to have such a talented artist joining us and we look forward to Sandra contributing her experience, enthusiasm, and leadership to the creation of an inspiring vision and vibrant programs.”
Outside of creating, directing, and performing dance and theatre with Red Sky, Laronde’s performing credits include: The Rez Sisters at Winnipeg’s Prairie Theatre Exchange; Indian Summer: The Oka Crisis for CBC Television; Chiefs, for the History Channel; and The Tempest at Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People.
Laronde served as a spokesperson for the International Olympic Committee for Toronto’s Olympic bid, contributed to a national consultation with Aboriginal leaders in education and training at the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, and moderated a panel at the 2002 National Gathering of Aboriginal Artistic Expression for the Department of Canadian Heritage. In 2004, she participated in the 2004 Governor-General’s Canadian Leadership program, and was also a recipient of the Toronto City Council’s 2004 Aboriginal Affairs Award. In 2006, she was a recipient of the Paul D. Fleck Fellowship in the Arts from The Banff Centre.
Established in 1993 to enhance creative opportunities in visual and literary arts, music, dance, and theatre, Aboriginal Arts at The Banff Centre has become one of Canada’s premier venues for artistic discovery for Aboriginal artists. Recent new works and creative projects have included the Nunavut Animation Lab, a partnership between the Banff New Media Institute and the National Film Board of Canada, the creation of Santee Smith’s new choreographic work A Story Before Time, and the popular annual residency for Aboriginal writers, developed in partnership with the En’owkin Centre and the Canada Council for the Arts.
Media and Communications Officer, The Banff Centre