Edmonton Métis Dancers

Over the last thirty years our group has gone through many transitions of dancers and the way we have operated within the Métis community and here at home in Edmonton. Over the years we have had over 125 dancers and musicians come through our organization in which many have been family members. We have also had the chance to visit and provide dance workshops for communities all across North America showing them our traditional values that were passed down by several generations of our elders and parents who wanted to ensure their cultural believes would remain strong long after they left this world. We were Métis dance ambassadors for the Métis Nation and for the city of Edmonton.Picture 113

Our group has functioned over the last nine years without any level of government funding or through any of the arts councils around, including: Canadian Heritage, Canada Council for the Arts, Alberta Foundation for the Arts and the Edmonton Arts Council, even though we have made many inquiries on how we can get funded like other non-Aboriginal groups functioning in our main-stream community. We approached most of these groups to advertise in our program and they refused. Although we have received no support from these government agencies our reputation has stayed alive through word of mouth and mostly through the internet and our website www.metisdance.com Group Pic

Currently our group consists of our direct family,  children and grand-children because of a promise my son Brent and I made to my mother and founder of this group since 1985. She asked us to keep this part of our culture alive within the family and to come back to the community to teach when we are asked.

 

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Edmonton Mètis Cultural Dancers

The Edmonton Métis Cultural Dancers were formed in the fall of 1985, with young people who were taking dance classes at the Canadian Native Friendship Centre (CNFC), Edmonton. The cultural coordinator Georgina Donald though it was important for young people to learn their culture in a fun way and in a way they can express themselves through the arts. At the time most of the original dancers had taken lessons for over a year, which were taught every Sunday afternoon for two hours between September and April.

Dance instructor, Moise White, picked ten of the kids to advance to a higher level of dance. During the first year of their lessons, they were taught the basic steps and patterns of the different Métis traditional dances. They were also taught the theory of the dance, which include traditional music, timing and history of our culture.

Over the years, the dancers have been promoting all of the traditional Métis dances, therefore reflecting the cultural heritage brought by our mixed ancestry (the French, Scottish, Irish and First Nations). Traditional dances include: the Duck Dance, Reel of Eight, Drops of Brandy, Reel of Four and the Red River Jig. They were also taught several first changes and breakdowns, with all of the square dances being described by a square dance caller. The group has also learned other show dances that profile their stepping ability including: the Orange Blossom Special, Broom Dance, Sash Dance and the Cotton Eyed Joe. Currently the group is made up of three generations of the Donald Family, including grandfather, sons and daughters and grandchildren.