Being a creative soul and a dancer, I never paid much attention to dance forms that I did not understand, or if I found their music to be very calm. I was always attracted to high energy dance moves, as they make you feel alive and have the urge to dance, but as I have matured I have realized that there is a lot more to dance than meets the eye.
What I have gathered is their passion for what they do and how connected our First Nations are to the divine.
Dancing comes in many shapes and forms; some are more common or understood over others. There is one thing that all humans have in common and that is their connection to, or their passion for, the art of dance. With the many interviews I have done in the past and through personal experience, I have discovered that we are all in our element when we are dancing. Simply because we are letting go of all of our worries in that moment, we are connecting on a spiritual level, and we are enjoying every minute of the moment.
“The Talking Stick Festival (2002 – ongoing) is Western Canada’s premier Aboriginal performing arts festival. Presented annually over the past 12 years, it has allowed us to showcase an enormous range of work from emerging and established Aboriginal performing artists, as well as to seed future developments and collaborations. Initiated as a way to encourage artistic participation and experimentation, the Talking Stick Festival is now our flagship event and one of our greatest artistic successes.” ~ from the Talking Stick website overview
Talking Stick is a combination of drumming, dancing, storytelling, and singing. It is richly full of our First Nations’ traditions and culture. Due to my upbringing as part of the South Asian Community, I may not understand what is being said or what the Aboriginal dance itself means. What I have gathered is their passion for what they do and how connected our First Nations are to the divine. Anyone on a personal journey, or a dancer, can see how the performers are in spiritual nirvana, due to their enjoyment of the present and the hypnotic trance of the music. In fact, our First Nations use dancing, drumming, storytelling and singing as part of their religious ceremonies which further their enlightenment or state of intoxication and love for the higher being.
Margo Kane (Cree/Saulteaux) an interdisciplinary artist and leading figure in Aboriginal performing arts, is the director and producer of Talking Stick and has had an adventurous life in the performing arts for the past 40 years. Margo is a talented individual and a visionary creating work that has meaning for her community, which is the catalyst for her extensive travels into rural and urban Aboriginal communities across Canada.
The Roundhouse is hosting the Talking Stick Festival from Feb 18-Mar 2 and is looking forward to seeing you there.
Even after my research, I still don’t fully grasp the meaning or story behind the offerings to God in the form of dancing, singing, drumming and storytelling. Through my personal journey and passion for the arts, I am interested in learning more and open to any new ideas that present themselves to me. What better way for me to expand my understanding of the culture than to attend one of the workshops happening at the Roundhouse and I would really love to hear you interpretation of the Talking Stick Festival.
By Fatima Sumar, Roundhouse Blog Team. Fatima works with Matrix Connectivity Solutions running their social media, runs her own wedding consulting business QueenoHearts Planners Ltd, and creates jewellery. After coming on board at the Roundhouse, she realized how much the Roundhouse has to offer and the amount of love she can give back to the community.