Dancing is an art that is full of emotion, culture, and history. Dance has, and continues to, play a large role in the human experience, as archeological evidence has identified that dance was occurring thousands of years ago and its importance and prevalence persists today. Different types of dance can be found across many cultures and are often incorporated into social functions, major events, storytelling, religions, and spirituality. Theatrical or performance dance offers participants a way to express themselves, a chance to perform, and a medium to tell a story. This connection between culture and entertainment is prevalent in Indigenous dance troupes.
Indigenous dance troupes also provide a meaningful way for Indigenous children and people of all ages to connect with their heritage and cultural practices. Seeing young children proudly perform their traditional cultural dances gives hope that children can grow up knowing and embracing their culture. Contemporary Indigenous dance troupes show that the cultural practices remain relevant in a modern world and continue to provide an outlet for expression, offering insight, healing and shared experience.
Each performance and group is unique and cannot be categorized under one genre of “Indigenous dance.” Red Sky Performance is a Canadian Indigenous performance group that is based in Toronto, Ontario. This group focuses on contemporary dance in order to uplift and celebrate contemporary Indigenous performance and culture. On the other hand, groups like Summer Bear Dance Troupe aim to share and educate about Indigenous culture by performing traditional dances and showcasing traditional regalia. This group represents the different regions and tribes, such as Ojibway, Cree, Assiniboine, and Sioux, from which the dances originate.
Supporting Indigenous dance troupes is a great way to boost Indigenous culture in the arts. Keep an eye out for performances at events near you or see the touring schedule of larger dance companies.
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