By Michael MacDonald
When I started working on this project I knew very little about why people dance. When I was growing up I went to school dances or dances at the local community centre. I danced at wedding receptions with everyone else that was invited. When I was growing up in Cape Breton I would sometimes dance to fiddle music at Scottish celebrations called Ceilidhs but I never stopped to asked myself ‘Why do I dance?’
Why do I dance? Most people really like to dance. Dancing is a fun way to spend time with family, friends, and community. It’s great exercise and can be a really good way to get to know new people. Some people dance for other reasons too. Professional dancers dance because it is their job. Some people dance because it is sacred to them. It is how they pray. There are lots of reasons why people dance. This section of the Native Dance website is a collection of personal stories about why people dance and why some people help other people dance. It is called the Showcase Section.
Each of these descriptions is only a small part of a much larger story. Reading all of the Showcase interviews will give you an idea of how many ways there are to look at dance. You don’t have to read all of them in order though. Each part is unique and talks about what dancing means to this one person, how they learned to dance and what it means to them as a member of a community. Sometimes it is about the group that a person is a member of. Sometimes it is about a building or space that a person works at that gives people a place to learn to dance, or just to dance for fun.
You do not have to read this in order but I am going to write the story the way it happened to me, in the order that I experienced it. This is a journey that we will both take, you and I, with the hope that we both learn something about the world of aboriginal dance in Canada.
* * *