Cultural Dances

Canada is home to more than 37 million people who speak 200+ languages, but the language of dance unites us. Check out a quartet of cultural dances , then put on your dancing shoes and learn a few steps alongside a couple of our Councillors!

Lashae Tootoosis Opens in new windowAniin/Tansi (Hello), my name is Lashae Tootoosis and I am 18 years old; I come from the O’Chiese First Nation here in Treaty 6 Territory. I am Plains Cree and Anishinaabe. 

I graduated from the Class of 2020 at West Central High School in Rocky Mountain House AB, during the pandemic. Currently, I am taking classes in post-secondary to pursue and further my education. 

Initially, I started dancing powwow at a very young age and attended local powwows where I would watch and admire other jingle dress dancers. Overtime, I had a naturally growing  passion for the old-style Jingle Dress dance; I knew that I wanted to dance jingle, however I wanted to dance old-style jingle. 

I’d like to thank the Creator and my family for guiding me through this life, and also instilling our cultural teachings and knowledge passed down. I encourage all women and girls to stay focused in school and to pursue their own passions, whether they find their connections through powwow, ceremony, language or any other. Aiy-Hiy/Miigwetch (Thank you)!

Jingle Dress Dance

Anjana Opens in new windowAnjana Babbar is a trained dance professional proficient in Bollywood, Indian Classical Kathak and Folk dancingShe has danced her way to people’s hearts in India and Canada. For the past 11 years she has been sharing her passion through her dance school Jeevan Gopal Dance Academy where she is training budding dancers of this diverse and dynamic community who rock the stage wherever they perform. The performers of her troupe are well known in Alberta for their vibrant, colorful and artistically intricate dance presentations. Creating a mesmerizing experience for their audience is their forte! Her goal is to inspire others to create their own methods of self-expression, spread the appreciation for art and culture and simply celebrate the joy of dancing.

Bollywood Dance
BeaumontHighlandDance Opens in new windowHighland Dancing is one of the oldest forms of folk dance, and both modern ballet and square dancing can trace their roots back to the Highlands. Dating back to the 11th or 12th century, the Highland Dances of Scotland tended to be highly athletic male celebratory dances of triumph or joy, or warrior dances performed over swords and spiked shield. According to tradition, the old kings and chiefs of Scotland used the Highland Games as a way of choosing the best men at arms. Highland dancing was one of the various ways men were tested for strength, stamina, accuracy, and agility.

HIghland Dances

Highland Fling: Originally the Fling was danced on a warrior's shield so that the complicated dance steps had to be executed in precisely the same location.

Hebridean Laddie: Always danced to the famous tune of the same name, this dance originated with soldiers during the First World War.

Irish Jig: The fanciful tale that surrounds the origin of the Irish Jig see an Irish washerwoman being tormented by a mischievous leprechaun, This energetic dance depicts the "catch me if you can" attitude of the feisty leprechaun who proceeds to tear the clean laundry off the clothes line quicker that the washerwoman can hang them up.

The Gillie Callum or Sword dance, dates back probably to the year 1054. During a battle, Malcolm Canmore, Calum - Chinn More, slew one of Macbeth's chiefs near Dunsinane. Taking the dead warriors sword, he formed a cross by arranging his sword over the sword of the dead chief and triumphantly danced over the symbol.

Beaumont School of Highland Dance 
PunjabiHeritageFolk Opens in new windowBhangra Dance

In a typical performance, several dancers execute vigorous movements—often with upraised, thrusting arm or shoulder movements—to the accompaniment of short songs and, most significantly, to the beat of a Dhol. Struck with a heavy beater on one end and with a lighter stick on the other, the dhol imbues the music with a syncopated swinging rhythmic character that is the hallmark of bhangra music. An energetic Punjabi dance, bhangra originated with Punjab farmers as a cultural and communal celebration; its modern-day evolution has allowed bhangra to retain its traditional Indian roots, while broadening its reach.

Bhangra Dance Lesson
Join Councillor Barnhart and Councillor Munckhof-Swain as they learn some Bhangra dance steps from Manjit and Joban Singh of Punjabi Heritage & Folk Edmonton