Traditional Métis Dance
Traditional Métis dance is a blend of the reels and waltzes from our Irish, Scottish, and French ancestry, with the dances of our Native American heritage – creating a unique form of dance, one of the most complicated and difficult of any Aboriginal peoples. The most famous and distinctive dance is the Red River Jig. This jig is performed to a special fiddle tune in two parts. The first, traditional jig step is danced while the fiddle plays a higher section. In the second section the fiddle plays lower, and more complex footwork is performed. In this second section dancers often compete to dance the quickest, most complicated footwork.
This combination of competition, history, and love of life are at the heart of Métis dance. Other famous traditional Métis dances include: The Reel of Eight, The Drops of Brandy, and The Duck Dance.
The dances are most commonly performed to famous Métis fiddle music, often accompanied by spoons and drumming, as well as tap rhythms from the dancers' heels. The musical accompaniment is highly distinctive – the bottom string of the fiddle is tuned up from G to A, and the music is highly syncopated, with extra beats giving the music a “bounce.” Music is played up-tempo and with a backbeat, particularly well suited for dancing. Métis dances are highly celebratory, reflecting the festive and social nature of the Métis people.