Yvonne Chartrand is a choreographer and dancer as well as a national award-winning master Métis jigger. Her ancestors come from the Métis community of St. Laurent, Manitoba. In 2000, she co-founded V’ni Dansi (“come and dance” in Michif) where she continues to act as Artistic Director. Yvonne’s Métis dance work was passed to her through many Métis Elders such as Maria Campbell and John Arcand; she is one of the only people in Canada who holds this traditional knowledge. As a cultural keeper, Yvonne is dedicated to preserving traditional Métis dance in Canada.
Her contemporary works are always informed by her Métis identity. As a contemporary dance choreographer she has conceptualized and co-choreographed company group works: A Poet and Prophet 2003, Gabriel‘s Crossing 2004, and The Crossing in 2006 (a dance trilogy inspired by these earlier works) written and directed by Maria Campbell. Her first full-length dance-theatre work Cooking It Up Métis created for young audiences has toured extensively to schools throughout B.C.
Yvonne’s solo Marguerite in 2000 was inspired by the lives of the Métis Women who endured the Red River and NorthWest Resistances, Stories from St. Laurent was inspired by stories gathered from six Elders in her ancestral community of St. Laurent, Manitoba. Her mentor Robin Poitras created the commissioned solo Sara Riel: The Long Journey, which Yvonne performed at New Dance Horizons, Regina in 2014 and toured to Edmonton and Winnipeg in 2016. Her solo Eagle Spirit premiered in Vancouver at V’ni Dansi’s annual Louis Riel Day Celebration 2016.
She is currently developing a new solo work Rou Garou inspired by the Métis trickster figure. In 2022, her collaboration with Indigenous choreographer and dancer Rulan Tangen of Santa Fe’s Dancing Earth, Li Mitchin di Mitchif, will premiere in Vancouver. Yvonne was awarded a 2011 Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award from the Canada Council for the Arts.