July 20th, 2024

Atlantic Ballet of Canada to launch Indigenous dance program in Moncton this fall

By The Canadian Press on June 25, 2024.

Precious Abygail Dedam, of Esgenoopetitj (Burnt Church, First Nation) dances during the announcement for the new intercultural Indigenous dance program as The Wabanaki Confederacy drum group provide the music in Moncton, N.B., on Monday June 25, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ron Ward

MONCTON, N.B. – The Atlantic Ballet of Canada is spearheading an Indigenous dance program this fall that will allow eight dancers to train close to their communities and culture.

Nipahtuwet Naka Wespahtuwet Possesom (Paul), who is director of Indigenous programs at the ballet, says there are no professional training programs in Atlantic Canada and that the ballet’s initiative is filling an important gap.

The new two-year program that will launch in Moncton, N.B., this fall will accept eight Indigenous dancers in Grade 11.

In a Canadian first, the program will allow dancers to receive support and training close to their land and families, without having to relocate to other parts of the country.

A news release from the ballet says the program will teach contemporary style and is rooted in the “world views, cultures, and practice” of the Mi’kmaq and Wolastoq nations of the Wabanaki Confederacy.”

The federal government is investing $400,000 to support the program, and the Ulnooweg Indigenous Communities Foundation will put in another $50,000.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 25, 2024.

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