With an eclectic background that has taken her through many performance styles on four different continents, Liliona (she/her) is a dancer, choreographer, actor, singer and facilitator living and working in Kjipuktuk (Halifax), on traditional and unceded Mi’kmaw territory. Liliona creates original works, performs widely, facilitates community programming, and is an experienced curator and Artistic Director.
Liliona has extensive training in dance and theatre. Pivotal to this training was obtaining her BA from the College of Wooster and an MPhil in African Studies with a performing arts focus from the University of Ghana; training and performing with Zab Maboungou/Compagnie Danse Nyata Nyata in Tiohti:áke (Montreal), and her ongoing engagement with Diane Roberts and the Arrivals Personal Legacy Process.
Since moving to Kjipuktuk (Halifax), Liliona has created several solo and group pieces as an independent dance artist, including intersect; Salt; Shifting Verse; Perfect Immigrant; Woman, Walking; Resonances of a Warrior Boy; and Tide. Her work has been presented by dance Immersion, Kinetic, the International Association of Blacks in Dance, FODAR, Antigonight, Nocturne, Mayworks Kjipuktuk, Prismatic, NAfro, Festival Antigonish, and others. Alongside this and her work at Kinetic, Liliona also collaborates and performs with dance and theatre companies such as Zuppa Theatre and Votive Dance, has extensive teaching experience, and is a social justice programmer and facilitator. Through it all she remains deeply committed to her journey with the Arrivals Personal Legacy Process.
The scope of Liliona’s work is broad, but is particularly focused on the relationship between art and social justice, on the body’s ability to carry ancestral memory, and on the role the performing arts can play in creating change. Liliona loves to work in collaboration and community, and is mom to two wonderful kids.
In this time when many of us move in the space between despair and hope, dance will not fail us. It will be there, complete in its ability to hold the complexity and multiple truths of the times in which we live. This does not mean that it will always bring us ease but, if we let it, dance will always bring us more deeply into who we are.
I try to hold onto this idea as I navigate my artistic practice. My dance journey has and will always be many things, drawing from many sources. I am constantly pulled in multiple directions and, as this happens, my task is to keep my feet under me. To seek integrity. To be brave, rigourous, and playful enough to receive the stories dance wants to give me. To accept that my practice is deeply important, and also not very important at all. To live deeply and fully in the continuum that is my body.
My body is a conduit, a link to past and to future generations. It takes me back, it takes me forward, it carries the present. My body is story.
The piece asks: In the dialogue between past and present, what stories reside within? What do we discover when then and there interact with now and here? How do we navigate the space that holds both ancestral story and body, and the body and story of here, in this time, on this land? Resonances of a Warrior Boy is a circular pause in the line between past and future ... a liminal space of provocation.
The creation of Resonances of a Warrior Boy is a result of my long-standing engagement with the Arrivals Personal Legacy Process (https://arrivalslegacy.com/), an artistic methodology that guides artists to "access and re-route their creative impulses by attuning to the wisdom of their ancestral stories". It is a deeply grounded, embodied and rigorous training and creation process that enables artists, particularly racialized artists, to sit in the full complexity of their colonized bodies, and to recover and rediscover silenced histories and legacies.