Pro Series II: Just Breathe, Okâwîmâwaskiy

January 25-26, 2024 at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
University Theatre, University of Calgary

$22 (adults) /$17 (students/seniors)

University of Calgary School of Creative and Performing Arts, Dance Division, Pro Series II - Just Breathe, Okâwîmâwaskiy with Melanie Kloetzel and Sandra Lamouche

An immersive performance addressing climate change and eco-anxiety

A collaborative project by Cree artist Sandra Lamouche and settler dance faculty member Melanie Kloetzel.

Just Breathe, Okâwîmâwaskiy (Just Breathe, Mother Earth) offers an immersive and highly charged dance theatre experience, Just Breathe, Okâwîmâwaskiy guides small groups of participants on a journey into and out of climate chaos. Come and experience the hope, deceit, folly and alarm of a migratory journey, while also uncovering alternatives to our collective fate.

Each Just Breathe, Okâwîmâwaskiy journey concludes with a focus group session that helps audiences process any feelings of climate anxiety that may emerge in the journey. 

Trigger warning: This is an immersive performance where audience members will be asked to participate. The performance’s themes could trigger climate anxiety.

Accessibility information: Audience members will be required to remove their shoes, walk, use stairs and sit on pillows. A portion of the performance will take place outside.

Audience advisory: mature content, stage fog/haze, and strobe

Artistic Directors' Note

Just Breathe, Okâwîmâwaskiy (Just Breathe, Mother Earth) developed from a joined vision. It began when Sandra Lamouche and Melanie Kloetzel met through the 10 Ways project, a social media project by TRAction, a climate arts collective based in Moh’kinstsis (Calgary). After being selected through a national call for artists, Sandra created a one-minute short for the ‘10 Ways to Fix the Planet’ series called ‘Stewardess of the Land’. The short offered an ironic collision of flight attendant procedures and Indigenous protocols. Inspired by this project, Melanie received a vision that mapped out an evening-length performance work that was directly related to Sandra’s offering. After discussing this vision, Sandra and Melanie came together in a cross-cultural collaboration examining eco-anxiety, its roots and the paradoxes that surround it.

And now, we would like to take you on an immersive journey. As you enter the world of Just Breathe, Okâwîmâwaskiy, observe your responses to the various stimuli you may receive. What do these responses tell you? As you and your fellow travelers navigate these responses, we hope you may glimpse some alternatives to what may feel like a shocking fate.

We would like to thank you, as audience – or really participants – for your willingness to be part of this research journey.

Creators and performers

*indicates kloetzel&co. performer

Sandra Lamouche

Director and Performer

Sandra Lamouche (she/her; MA) is a Nehiyaw Iskwew (Cree Woman) from the Bigstone Cree Nation in Northern Alberta. She married into the Piikani Nation in Southern Alberta and is now a proud mother to two boys with braids. In 2007, she completed her BA in Native American Studies from the University of Lethbridge, and in 2021, she successfully defended her MA Thesis at Trent University, titled “Nitona Miyo Pimadisiwin (Seeking a Good Life) Through Indigenous Dance” which examines Indigenous Dance as a Social Determinant of Health and Well Being. Sandra is a multidisciplinary creator, artist, writer and storyteller, a Champion Hoop Dancer, an award winning Indigenous Educational Leader, and a two-time TEDx Speaker. She has over fifteen years of experience in ten international styles of dance including ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, modern, contemporary, hip hop and powwow styles, and the hoop dance. She has performed, collaborated with, studied and trained with Indigenous Dance Companies such as "Daystar Modern Dance Creations" with Rosalie Jones, founder of Modern Native Dance (Rochester, NY); "Dancing Earth: Contemporary Indigenous Dance Creations" with Rulan Tangen; "Compaigni V'ni Dansi" Metis and Contemporary dance with Yvonne Chartrand (Vancouver, BC); "Kahawi Dance Theatre" with Santee Smith (Toronto, ON); Jack Gray of "Atamira Dance Company" (New Zealand), O. Dela Arts (Ontario), and Raven Spirit Dance (Vancouver). 

Melanie Kloetzel


Melanie Kloetzel (she/her; MFA, PhD) is a settler performance maker, scholar and educator based in Treaty 7 territory (Moh’kinsstis/Calgary). Director of the dance theatre company kloetzel&co. and co-director of the art intervention collective TRAction (which produces the Climate Art Web), Kloetzel has developed events, workshops and encounters in theatre spaces, alternative venues, spaces of public assembly, and online environments across four continents. Her award-winning films have garnered such accolades as Best of Fest (Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema, USA), Best Documentary (Mabig Film Festival, Germany; DC After Dark, USA), Best Female Short (Freedom Festival International, USA) and Best Experimental Film (GO Independent International Film Festival, USA). Her publications can be found in Dance Research JournalContemporary Theatre ReviewChoreographic PracticesNew Theatre Quarterly, Performance Matters, and Performance Research, among others, and her books –  the co-edited anthology Site Dance: Choreographers and the Lure of Alternative Spaces (2009), the co-authored (Re)Positioning Site Dance: Local Acts, Global Perspectives (2019)and the co-authored Covert: A Handbook (2021)  are currently available from University Press of Florida, Intellect, and Triarchy Press, respectively.

Jocelyn Leiver


Jocelyn Hoover Leiver (she/her) is a multi-disciplinary settler artist from Moh’kinsstis (Calgary, AB). She is an alumnus of both the Dance and Music programs at the University of Calgary, and has been a company member of kloetzel&co. since 2015: Just Breathe, Okâwîmâwaskiy (2023); Faust, the Anatomy of a DiseaseMEN in Charge (film); It Began with Watching (stage/site/tour); Dance of the Puppets (short film); Rooms; and Tragedy, a sequel. Her background in theatre, musical theatre, film, dance, choreography, and as a collaborative pianist has created many opportunities to share her unique voice abroad, including British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, California, Ireland, Austria, and India. Upcoming: Rule of Thumb (Workshop Theatre), Little Women the Musical (Rosebud Theatre), and a new work with kloetzel&co. @Hoovey 

Taylor Ritchie


Taylor MacLeod (she/her) is a performer, dance educator and arts enthusiast from Mohkinstsis (Calgary, Alberta). She received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance, with a concentration in choreography and performance with distinction from the University of Calgary. Since emerging in the local arts scene, she has performed with kloetzel&co., WM2, and Corps Bara Dance Theatre. Taylor has had the opportunity to perform across Canada in Regina’s Stream of Dance, Calgary’s Fluid Festival, Annual Alberta Dance Festival, and Skylines Dance & Film Series, as well as Edmonton’s The Works Festival and Prairie Dance Circuit.

Shondra Cromwell-Krywulak


Shondra Cromwell-Krywulak (she/her) is a dance artist based out of Mohkinstsis (Calgary) Alberta and is a graduate of the University of Calgary’s BFA Dance Program (2019). After graduation she has continued her training with YYC Contemporary Training and recently completed a residency with Dancer’s Studio West. Shondra has performed for established artists including Melanie Kloetzel, Michèle Moss, Marie France Forcier, and Heather Ware. Her work has been presented in university performances, and most recently her film French Vanilla with Chocolate Sprinkles was presented in Dancer’s Studio West Quick and Dirty Festival (2021).

Alèn Martel


Alèn Martel (he/him/his) is a Canadian-born South / West Asian 'contemporary' dancer, university researcher and educator, and performing arts centre (PAC) professional working in Moh-kíns-tsis | Wincheesh-pah | Kootsisáw, Treaty 7 Territory (Calgary, AB). His main research areas include creative process, global dance history and dance studies (with emphasis on pre-20th century), and dance and computer science.  He has his Bachelor of Arts in Dance from the University of Calgary (2012) and his Master of Arts in Ethnochoreology (2014) from the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick.

Katriona Dunn

Katriona Dunn, BFA'22, is a theatre designer, technician, and creator. She recently graduated from the University of Calgary Drama program with distinction. During her time at the university, she worked as costume designer on Horse Girls, designer for Wagonstage, and assistant designer on Formations and We the Same. Other work includes assistant set and props design Casey and Diana and Women of the Fur Trade (Stratford Festival) and assistant costume designer for Murder on the Orient Express (Vertigo Theatre). She was recognized with the Macdonell Award in Performing Arts and the Marilyn Perkins Award in performing arts. 

Calum Maunier

Calum Maunier (He/Him) is a technical director, theatrical designer, technician and creator. He recently graduated from the University of Calgary Drama program with distinction. His most recent design work was for Date Night at Calgary Fringe 2023. He is currently working at Wordfest and just finished the Imaginairium 2023 festival as the technical director, and as well as providing technical and design support at cSpace. He plans to continue supporting and growing within the theatre industry. Other recent credits include: Cantata with Sage Theatre (Light/Costume Design), Just Breathe 2023 (Set/Lighting Design), Frankenstein with Jupiter theatre (Technical director/Production manager), Wagonstage 2023 (Set/Costume Design), and MoRF (Lighting Design). Upcoming projects include: Cantata 2024


Production support: Melanie Kloetzel/kloetzel&co.
Devised script: Melanie Kloetzel and Jocelyn H. Leiver
Script adaptation (meditation): Camille Mori
Voiceover: Jocelyn H. Leiver
Music: Sherryl Sewepagaham (performed by Luminous Voices) and Phyllis Sinclair (from the album Ghost Bones)
Sound design: Calum Maunier and Melanie Kloetzel

This project has received funding from a UCalgary Transdisciplinary Connector Grant, as well as through a Mobilizing Alberta: Catalyzing Community Action grant. The project has also received key support from the Office of Sustainability, the UCalgary Division of Dance, and the Centre for the Research in the Fine Arts (CRFA).

  1. Staff

    Director BRUCE BARTON
    Associate Director ALLAN BELL
    Dance Division Lead MELANIE KLOETZEL
    Drama Division Lead CHRISTINE BRUBAKER
    Music Division Lead JEREMY BROWN
    Production Manager ANDREW NORTH
    Performance and Artist Coordinator ALIDA LOWE
    Communications and Marketing Advisor SATOKO (TOKIE) ONODA
    Department Operations Manager MARY LOU MENDYK
    Administrative Assistant ALEXANDRA LYONS
    Academic Program Specialist ROSABEL CHOI
    Academic Program Specialist CONSTANTINA CALDIS ROBERTS
    Graduate Program Advisor ALISON SCHMAL

  2. Theatre Services

    Venue & Client Relations Manager DAVID FRASER
    Venue Business Administrator ABIR BACHIR
    Booking Administrator CATHERINE ROULEAU
    Front of House Manager KRISTINE ASTOP
    Audio Technician ALEX BOHN
    Lighting Technician JASON SCHWARZ
    Scenic Carpenter SCOTT FREEMAN
    Stage Technician IAN WILSON

A special thanks to UCalgary, in particular the School of Creative and Performing Arts, the Transdisciplinary Connector program, and the Office of Sustainability, for supporting this project. And another special thanks to the amazing group of people who have been willing to stick with this project as it has grown over the past year – Jocelyn, Taylor, Shondra, Alèn, Calum, Katriona, and Camille. Your dedication and skill are so appreciated! Also, a huge thanks to Indigenous musician/composers Sherryl Sewepagaham and Phyllis Sinclair for their generous contribution of music to support this project, as well as to knowledge keepers Dustin Walter and Shelly Eli for generously sharing their wisdom as this project has developed.

kloetzel&co. is a dance theatre company committed to works that span stage, site, and screen. Begun in New York City, kloetzel&co. now makes its home on Treaty 7 territory (Moh’kinsstis/Calgary) in Canada. The company’s research projects, which frequently address issues of social and environmental justice, emerge from practice-as-research methodologies. kloetzel&co. is particularly dedicated to artistic collaboration and interdisciplinary practices and attempts to foster creative experiments with writers, filmmakers, composers, designers, visual artists, landscape designers, and musicians in each place along its choreographic journey. Award-winning films from the company have been presented across four continents, and live presentation highlights include New York presentations at Movement Research at the Judson Church, Danspace, and The Flea Theatre, international presentations at The Painted Bride Art Center (Philadephia), Dusk Dances (Toronto), Horizons Concert Series (Flagstaff), and The House Theatre (Plymouth, UK), as well as in hotels, train stations, board rooms, parking lots and gallery spaces across Turtle Island. kloetzel&co. is directed by Melanie Kloetzel (MFA, PhD) who has created over fifty works for the company.