Wider Horizons

With his feet flashing and flying to the sounds of beating drums, Marvin Calf Robe Jr.Fancy footwork - Marvin Calf Robe moved through Centre Core with stamina, strength and a strong connection to history.

Calf Robe, a student in Lethbridge College’s Automotive Services program in 2013 and 2014, is especially skilled in the men’s fancy dance, one of the most popular contemporary pow wow dances. The highly athletic dance requires the dancer to keep his regalia moving with him to the beat. He is constantly in motion in one of the most demanding of all First Nations dances; its movement is faster than that of any other dance. Wearing a twin bustle decorated with a colourful fringe that is said to represent the Rainbow Spirit, as well as several loom-beaded pieces, Calf Robe and other men’s fancy dancers perform either a simple step while dancing around the drum or a “contest” step with fast and intricate footwork.

Each year, students, staff and community members are treated to demonstrations of this dance and dozens of other athletic, artistic and cultural performances and events during Lethbridge College’s annual FNMI Days. The event, which celebrates the pride, history and knowledge of First Nations, Métis and Inuit students, staff, alumni and friends of the college, will be held this year on Oct. 28 and 29.

“Our FNMI Days present a great occasion for our whole college and surrounding community to experience the social side of our First Nations, Métis and Inuit cultures,” says Marcia Black Water, the college’s FNMI Student Advisor. “Through the fun and excitement, this event provides new learning experiences for some and a coming together of community. We’ve been fortunate to have dancers such as Marvin Calf Robe Jr. as students here at the college. Marvin’s style of dancing, the fancy dance, is an exciting one to watch as the dancer has to put in a lot of effort to keep up with the very quick beat. You can’t help but cheer at the end.”

This year’s event will feature a special evening performance on Oct. 29 by Tomson Highway, the internationally renowned playwright, novelist, songwriter and pianist. Highway is best known for his play The Rez Sisters and, for many years, he ran Canada’s premiere Native theatre company, Native Earth Performing Arts based in Toronto.

Other activities planned for this year’s FNMI Days include a tipi raising and smudging, musical performances, drumming and dancing, recognition of the college’s Métis Scholar Award winners, Métis cultural dancing, traditional games, a hand drum contest, great food offerings, arts, crafts and community displays. The community is welcome to attend.

For more information about FNMI Days or FNMI programs and services at Lethbridge College, check out lethbridgecollege.ca/fnmi or call Black Water at 403-320-3202 ext. 5731.

Wider Horizons
Lethbridge College
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