10/03/2014 15:51 EDT | Updated 12/03/2014 05:59 EST

Aboriginal choreographer dances through violence to healing

As a teen, Daina Ashbee was anorexic.  

She grew up in a Métis, Cree, Dutch family in British Columbia troubled by alcoholism and violence. 

It was when she started dancing and improvising at a contemporary dance studio that she realized how she had internalized and suppressed the difficult experiences from her upbringing.

It was also through dance that she recognized how the eating disorder was destroying her body

"The dance really healed me and allowed me to get a lot of that violent energy out," she said. 

Now, the 25-year-old has written a piece for two dancers to tell that story.

When she approached the Montreal Arts Interculturels (MAI) for support to develop a dance piece showing the vulnerability of young aboriginal women, the centre decided to give her extensive backing, including mentoring by fellow aboriginal choreographer, Lara Kramer.

The final result, entitled Unrelated, is an strong statement about vulnerability and healing through art.

Ashbee believes the work also reflects the suffering and plight of Canada's missing and murdered aboriginal women. 

Unrelated is performed by Ariel Morgan and Paige Colley.

The MAI centre is located at 3680 Jeanne-Mance Street in Montreal.

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