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Métis Dance

The Métis combined the reels and waltzes from their European ancestry (Irish, Scotch, and French) with the dances of the Plains  Indians creating dances unique to themselves.  Some of the most difficult dances of any Aboriginal people come from the Métis.

The traditional dance of the Métis is the Red River Jig.  The Red River Jig is a special piece that is danced in two sections.  When the fiddle plays the high section the dancer does a basic jig step, when the fiddler changes to the low section, the dancer does fancy step work.  Upwards of fifty steps are known to exist.

Métis DanceNot everyone can dance the Red River Jig or Quadrille.  Dances were energetic, with each couple, particularly the men trying to outdo their companions.  When the beat notes start, Métis people change to lightning fast sets of steps in the Red River Jig that can almost not be followed by the human eye.  Métis people are highly competitive and contests abounded then and today, to see which Métis can create the flashiest steps.

Some of the names of Métis dances are Quadrille, Red River Jig, Duck Dance, La Double Gigue, Chicken Reel, and Drops of Brandy.  Should you ever be within hearing distance of a fiddler playing the Red River Jig, you would be hard pressed to keep your feet still.  Many would dance until they had completely worn out a pair of moccasins.

The free spirit and love of life can surely be seen in Métis dances.

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