Retro Dundee: A peek into the 60s, 70s and 80s

What the heck are clackers? Why are Lenin and Stalin staring down from this Scottish city’s town hall? Is that David Bowie? Continue reading “Retro Dundee: A peek into the 60s, 70s and 80s”

Pancake Day Rehearsal!

Pouring a dollop of pancake mix into the pan forced a hiss as the goo met the metal. Grabbing a handful of raisins I began to seed my pancake with their plump little figures. Satisfied with what I’d sown I thrust my spatula under the island of mix to turn its world upside down. Behind me chaos met art as a housemate presented her rendition of a pancake song’s dance. Another housemate drew attention as she masterfully tossed a pancake into orbit and landed it on its rump.

Our Pancake Day rehearsal was flippin’ brilliant!

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Aboriginal Day (Men): June 21

Behind me children of nationalities across the world watched a tradition that I could confidently call something born of Canada and the land the country itself was born from. As nation we like to describe Canada as a patchwork of nationalities, which ultimately means we have a hard time defining ourselves. What is a Canadian? What it does mean to come from Canada and live within it? We call ourselves peacekeepers, environmentalists and liberal thinkers for the most part. And yet we just as easily contradict those ideal images. For example our suppression and continued stubborn misunderstanding of the unique nations within our own, which we arrogantly clutter under three names, if that. Often we only use one set of words that mean the same thing but are deemed more or less politically correct: Aboriginals, First Nation Peoples, Natives, Indians. Continue reading “Aboriginal Day (Men): June 21”

Jacky Essombe: March 21st

She was forming the rhythm with the very air. Her hips, elbows, feet and hands beat an invisible series of drums surrounding her body. She was creating the rhythm of three beats. Her limbs listened to separate sounds, followed the voice of different drums and expressed themselves as individuals. The dance was wild but expressed coordination. Cooperation. She was a community in harmony.

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Tiny Tot Powwow: Women

My camera bag lay beside my feet with its cover loosely closed. Though entranced by the display of vibrancy and energy before me I was still conscious enough of my immediate surroundings to tuck me bag under my legs as an elder woman was helped to her seat beside me. I was at ground floor and had witnessed a number of people troubled by the first giant step of the bleachers. Women had to lift their dresses and children had to practically climb up. It was no surprise that this elder woman had decided to sit at the bottom. As she settled in I was struck by the contrast of her quiet character with the boisterous strength of voices and drums ringing through the gym. The sight of her stillness compared to the flashing, twirling, ducking and leaping fabric and feathers on the dance circle. I felt a sense of calm within her small frame beside me. Continue reading “Tiny Tot Powwow: Women”

Tiny Tot Powwow Men

Ducking and swaying the dancers exuded the characters of hunter and prey. Stepping lightly through an invisible forest or softly across the prairie grass they circled each other, conveying heightened awareness and the power of instinct. Beside the three dancers, alone in the circle, a child reached the edge of the floor. Watching his elder brethren for a moment, he too began to feel the music. Lost in the drums he dipped and spun. Continue reading “Tiny Tot Powwow Men”

Soran Bushi: A Japanese Tradition

“Hi!” The commanding opening to the Japanese sea shanty, Soran Bushi, would have startled me out of my seat had I not already witnessed it last year. In the unglamorous classroom the powerful dance was out of place. It was a force of nature in a delicate artificial shell. The beginning sequence of hands dipping and rising to imitate waves was such a stark contrast to the surroundings– like an oasis in the desert. Even without their happi, or Japanese festival jackets, the dancers exuded the spirit of the traditional dance. It was great to be allowed to watch the dance grow and come together as the group continued to practice.

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