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.

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