Clad in regalia and moving to the beat of drums, two young sisters lay out their sets of hoops and begin to loop them around their arms.
Once she’s set, Trinity Moar, 11, looks over to her sister, Chastity, 10, to see if she’s ready. She is. Simultaneously they make the shape of an eagle to a crowd of their peers, Elders and community leaders. The audience applauds as the girls lay out their hoops and start to make a new formation.
The sisters performed the hoop dancing at the Victor Linklater Memorial School in North Spirit Lake as part of the grand opening celebrations of the community’s new school.
The sisters have been hoop dancing – a form of storytelling told through dance – for three years since their mother introduced the idea to them.
“My mom heard there was a powwow club in Winnipeg,” said Trinity. “She said you could do so much fun stuff, like go to powwows.”
Once the girls attended, they were hooked.
“I thought it was fun because it’s fun playing with the hoops and making the animals,” Chastity said. “We make worms, eagles, a flower and the warrior.”
The sisters agree the hardest aspect of hoop dancing is the footwork.
“Because you have to move around the hoops,” Trinity said.
“Yeah,” Chastity said. “There’s no stepping on them because it’s disrespectful.”
When they’re not in class, the girls are keen on learning on their own.
“Sometimes we make up our own moves,” Trinity said. “Or for some we look up on the Internet.”
When they got a new teacher, the girls took it upon themselves to show her the ropes.
“She didn’t know much about it so we taught her,” Trinity said.
Trinity and Chastity have goals to work toward with their dancing.
“We do 13 hoops right now but I want to work on 20,” Chastity said, with Trinity agreeing.
Chastity and Trinity have performed at numerous powwows and venues, with the biggest being at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg with their entire dance class.
In addition to hoop dancing, the sisters have taken break dancing, hip-hop and jazz dancing classes. They’ve also taken piano and acting classes.
Their mother, Audrey Kakekagumick, said she moved her family from North Spirit Lake to Winnipeg when they were young.
“The school (in North Spirit Lake) wasn’t that functional at the time,” she said. “I wanted them to go to a better school.”
She said it was through their new school in Winnipeg that the dancing was introduced.
“Their principal is very helpful,” she said. “Sometimes he’ll help transport them to their dancing classes.”
The sisters practiced two times a week leading up the grand opening ceremonies in North Spirit Lake. They talked about how they felt to perform in front of their community members.
“Good, because most are my cousins,” Chastity said. “Because it shows them how I feel and how proud I am about it.”
“I feel the same,” Trinity agreed. “I feel good about it.”
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