Laureate 2021

Work presented in Montréal in 2020-2021: Smudge, Festival Quartiers Danses

For the past 25 years, Barbara Kaneratonni Diabo has pursued her career as a dancer and choreographer. She is also a teacher who shares her humility and kindness through the transmission of her art. Barbara Kaneratonni Diabo is a Kanien’keha:ka (Mohawk) from Kahnawake. She is the Artistic Director of A’nó:wara Dance Theatre and a hoop dance virtuoso. She attracted a lot of attention with her choreographic work in the movie Smudge, which will be featured in Festival Quartiers Danse, the McCord Museum, and on National Indigenous Peoples Day. Her maturity enables her to become the voice of her ancestors. Her practice combines powwow, Haudenosaunee dance, and mainstream contemporary styles. This great artist embodies a bridge between her people and society as a whole: she builds up sensibilities and opens up new possibilities.


Barbara Kaneratonni Diabo is Kanien’keha:ka (Mohawk) of mixed heritage originally from Kahnawake, now living in Montreal. She currently is the Artistic Director and Choreographer of A’nó:wara Dance Theatre. An award-winning choreographer and dancer for over 25 years, she specializes in creating works that highlight Indigenous themes / stories / perspectives by often combining powwow, Haudenosaunee dance, and mainstream contemporary styles to create a fusion of dance that speaks to many different audiences. Diabo takes pride in sharing her culture. As such, she has performed across Canada and internationally. She was one of only eight dancers in North America invited to perform at the world’s largest powwow, Gathering of Nations (New Mexico), in its first-ever hoop dance competition (2015). Barbara Kaneratonni Diabo also works with various organizations – including La Danse sur les routes du Québec and Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance – to educate the public, help create safe spaces and support Indigenous artists across the globe. Through her Mohawk culture, she acknowledges that dance is more than just a show. She dances and creates for future generations, to honor and celebrate, for her ancestors, for the community, for those who cannot dance, to inspire others, to communicate, to encourage cultural pride, and to lift spirits.