Lara Kramer is a performer, choreographer and multidisciplinary artist of mixed Oji-Cree and settler heritage based in Montreal. Her critically acclaimed works portray the contrast of the brutal relations between Indigenous peoples and colonial society and have been presented across Canada and even in Australia, New Zealand and the UK.
Lara has received multiple awards, acknowledgements and prizes for her work. Kramer was recognized and appointed as a Human Rights Advocate through the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre in 2012. In 2014, Lara was awarded the Scholarship of Audacity – Caisse de la culture from the OFFTA, Montreal, as well was commissioned by The Canada Dance Festival for her work “Native Girl Syndrome”. In 2017-18 Lara was presented with the prestigious Ashley Fellowship with Trent University, as well was appointed the CanDance creation fund in for her work Windigo. In 2018, Lara received the Jacqueline-Lemieux Prize for recognition of artistic excellence and distinguished career achievement in dance.
Lara Kramer’s work employs powerful imagery. Often blunt and raw, playing with the strengths and vulnerability of the body, her pieces stand out for their engagement, sensitivity, close and instinctive listening to the body, and her attention to the invisible.
These include Fragments (2009), inspired by her mother’s stories of being in residential school, and Native Girl Syndrome (2013), navigates internalized trauma. Windigo (2018) can be viewed as its masculine counterpart, where trauma is externalized through different ages and bodies, individuals and objects.
Her work deals with the aftermath of cultural genocide. The 2017 installation and performance piece This Time Will be Different, created in collaboration with Émilie Monnet, denounced the status quo of the Canadian government’s discourse regarding First Nations and criticized the “national reconciliation industry”.
The intimate sound installation and performance piece Phantom stills & vibrations (2018), created in collaboration with Stefan Petersen is an immersive experience. The exhibit stirs, disturbs, leads to reflection and meditation. A reminder of the repercussions of trauma passed on from generation to generation from the former Pelican Falls Indian Residential School near Sioux Lookout, Ontario. Three generations of her family were forcibly sent to the school.
She has been on the faculty of the Indigenous Dance Residency at The Banff Centre and has taught workshops across Canada and in Melboune, Australia. Lara was the guest teacher at Nunatta Isiginnaartitsisarfia – The National Theatre of Greenland in 2018. She also landed her debut role in François Delisle film Cash Nexus (2018) as supporting character Angie. Lara has participated in several residencies including Dancemakers Artist in Residency from 2018-2021.
I work with my gut, a hollowing feeling in my gut, I fill what has been empty, I fill it with sound. Raw sound of movement, breath, sweat and warmth. It is within my artistic process that I have further connected to my Aboriginal roots. I work with storytelling within my creative process as a way of exploring how the mapping of stories from my family’s history resonates in the body and how it can be transferred symbolically in my work connecting to the past, present and future.
I’m interested in the physical engagement similar to how a child explores in space, their curiosity in investigating and how their environment is fully embodied. I try to create a heightened awareness to things like the taste of one’s mouth, the heat of one’s throat, the vibration of the inner and outer body, its layers similar to an animal. I’m discovering softer ways of being introspective and connecting to a kind of dormant experience that is active and alive, to enter different states of body.
I create from a place of exploring trauma, lateral violence and the aftermath of Indian residential schools which is prominent in my family’s history. The effects it has on intimate relationships and the fragmentation and isolation of one’s experience in present times. I continue to research the colonial impact on First Nations in Canada, exploring the radical changes in governing systems, relations to land, treaties and family structures.
I want to continue to touch the invisible and be fueled by my dreams within my creative process, as it feeds and anchors me, connecting me to the spirit world. I am strongly impacted by my experience and connection to my blood land, where my ancestors are from. Spending time in the north resonates in my creative process, it carves images, evokes sensations and strong desires to share the vitality of my history.
Lara Kramer’s work is supported by:
ABOUT THE COMPANY
Lara Kramer Danse (LKD) is a Montreal-based dance company. Founded in 2012, the mandate of Lara Kramer Danse is to support Lara Kramer in her creation and production of professional quality performance and choreography as well as to nurture her artistic voice and practice.
The mission of the company is committed to undertaking projects that support the research and creation of Lara Kramer’s artistic voice and support the development of production and touring of Lara Kramer’s choreographies. Lara Kramer Danse also builds a platform to support the development of workshops, international collaborations and exchanges, as well as educational and community projects offered and developed by Lara Kramer.
In 2013 the company laid the groundwork for a community research project by developing relations in Lac Seul and Sioux Lookout, Ontario. In traveling north to her family’s blood land, Lara Kramer created Camp 19, a research project involving the connection and history of the treaty land, the learning of traditional skills and the long-term goal of continue to nourish these relations and exchanges in the north.
In 2016 Lara built The Cradleboard Project in collaboration with senior artists and knowledge keeper Ida Baptiste, offering workshops at Native Montreal and the Women’s Native Shelter of Montreal. A community driven project that is focused on reclaiming traditional practices.
Kramer’s works are carved with theatricality-based vocabulary and rooted in her Indigenous heritage. Working with strong visuals and narrative, Kramer’s work pushes the strength and fragility of the human spirit. Her work is political and potent, often examining political issues surrounding Canada and First Nations Peoples. The company has been invited to perform at festivals in across Canada and internationally in New Zealand, Greenland, Australia and Martinique.
Board of directors
President – Autumn Godwin
Secretary – Moe Clark
Board Member – Lara Kramer
Lara Kramer, Artistic Director + Arts Administrator
Sylvie Lavoie, Accountant
Nicoleta Nedescu, Communication Consultant + Web-site development
Ida Baptiste, Cultural Advisor
Emerson Benson, Cultural Advisor
Denis Bergeron, Development Consultant
Lara has been offering workshops across Canada since 2012, she has taught in Montreal, London, Ontario, Peterborough, Toronto, Regina, Banff, Edmonton, Vancouver, Melbourne, Australia and Nuuk, Greenland.
Her approach in teaching is finding the enjoyment in how images transform, distort and shift in time. Working with body, texture + objects and sound, Lara takes time to invest in the listening to instinctual choices to accumulate experience and meaning. Sharing her interest with the multi-dimensional meanings that pertain to the physical proposals of the sculpting body.
Lara has offered the following workshops for the past few years. Discovery of State of Body and Audio Drive + Systems of Distortion. In Discovery of State of Body we build a central working system in the sensing body to build from and to explore from. Imprinting our experiences. And passing through the constant flux. Shape shifting.
Audio Drive + Systems of Distortion works with the artists practice with duration, deepening the awareness of where we hear nothing and everything. Record. Play. Embody and reject. Listening and falling into the void. To be present with the memory + future.
Since 2006 Lara Kramer has been teaching Pilates, she received her Pilates Certification in Stott Pilates in Montreal. Continually influenced by her training in dance, Lara’s classes aim to inform and create curiosity about the health and well-being of the body.
“My experience working with Lara Kramer and her team was greatly inspiring. To be able through movement explore deep intense subjects is eye opening and for me created a pathway to generate honest organic work. It opens the door to being able to share our stories, history and experiences. Thank you for such an amazing workshop” ~ Nyla Carpentier
The Cradleboard Project is a community project initiated by Lara Kramer and created in collaboration with senior artists and knowledge keeper Ida Baptiste in 2016. Ida Baptiste is a visual artist native of Brandon, Manitoba. She holds a BA in Native Studies from Trent University. Since 2011 she has been working as an Ojibwa language teacher at Kendaawin Elementary school in Rama, Ontario and has a practice in traditional art.
Lara Kramer and Ida Baptiste facilitate a 1-2 week workshop where participants of all ages learn the process of creating a cradleboard. This multi-generational project offers the opportunity to connect hands on to a traditional practice, explore technique, skills, language and artistic expression in crafting your own cradleboard in a community driven artistic project. It supports the reclaiming of traditional practices and teachings in traditional parenting and Ojibwa language. Workshops have been offered at Native Montreal and the Women’s Native Shelter of Montreal in 2017 + 2018. For further inquiries please contact Lara at firstname.lastname@example.org