Dakota Alcantara-Camacho’s MALI’E Receives National Recognition Aug 14, 2020


Dakota Alcantara-Camacho was named a WAA Advancing Indigenous Performance 2020 Native Launchpad Artist & is one of the recipients of the National Performance Network’s Creation & Development Fund for their project MALI’E. 

MALI’E is being co-commissioned by On the Boards, Pacific Islander Ethnic Art Museum (Long Beach, CA), and Dancing Earth Indigenous Dance Creations (Ogaa Po Ogeh/Santa Fe, NM and Yelamu/San Francisco, CA). This project engages performance research as a methodology to explore Indigenous worldviews and empower Matao communities to embody liberation with ancestral knowing. The project draws from the traditional Matao practice of embodied, improvisatory, collective chanting in which oral history and prophecy converge. Through a series of interwoven performance research projects, participants will collectively innovate a culturally specific auto-ethnochoreographic technique for developing community ceremonies for personal and collective healing, and re-k/new inafa’maolek—harmony and unity with Creation.  

On the Boards Artistic Director, Rachel Cook, shared her experience in working with Dakota; “I first met Dakota through our festival called Northwest New Works where guiya (they) performed, and I will say that watching guiya perform has sent emotional chills through my body. Yo’ña (their) ability to synthesize yo’ña voice, movements, stories, and images into a personal performance language is something that I still think about.” Cook added, “I am thrilled to be engaged in this process of creating and developing a new work with Dakota. I know it will be a transformational experience these next few years.”

This is the third cycle of AIP Native Launchpad Awards. The program aims to further the careers of US-based Indigenous artists and ensembles by deepening their connection to the worlds of arts presenting and management. The program is the cornerstone of WAA’s Advancing Indigenous Performance (AIP) initiative to build audiences for Indigenous performing arts through educational and career development resources for artists and presenters. 

Western Arts Alliance (WAA) made four additional awards to Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti, Shelley Morningsong, Kalani Pe’a, and brooke smiley. Each award is valued at $40,000 over three years, in the form of cash grants, travel support, mentoring/coaching, showcasing, promotional benefits, and networking opportunities. 

“We’ve known of Dakota’s work for some time,” says AIP program manager Ed Bourgeois, “and are excited to support the next stages of Dakota’s career, in exposing the challenges faced by Pacific Islanders: saving their homelands from colonialism and climate change, building and maintaining community in the face of land dispossession, and maintaining culture despite ongoing attempts to destroy it.”

On the Boards is proud to be a co-commissioner of MALI'E and remains inspired and moved by the work and practice of Dakota.