Saami dance group to perform Sept. 21 in Iqaluit
Jorggáhallan is based on Saami culture — with a twist
Saami, the indigenous people of northern Europe, may not have traditional dances, but they like to dance.
And Elle Sofe Henriksen, a Saami dance choreographer from Kautokeino, Norway, has found a way to bring traditional practices into dance performance.
She shares this with audiences in Jorggáhallan, which will make its Canadian première in Iqaluit Sept. 21 in two shows — a matinee and an evening performance.
Presented by the Alianait Arts Festival, the show features two dancers who will perform at ground level to the audience, in an intimate atmosphere.
Henriksen has said she “wants you to feel like you’re going to visit an older aunt or grandparent” during her performance, said Heather Daley, executive director of Alianait, which is presenting Jorggáhallan with the support of the Royal Norwegian Embassy.
Coffee and cake — commonly served in Norway to visitors — will be served to make the cozy Jorggáhallan experience complete, Daley said.
Henriksen, who works as a filmmaker as well as a dancer and choreographer, has highlighted Saami cultural heritage in other works which she has performed in Europe, China and the United States.
Dance is not part of traditional Saami culture, but Jorggáhallan is based on interviews Henriksen conducted with Saami elders, Daley said.
Jorggáhallan tells a tale of a couple’s courtship — and, as belts are part of the Saami traditional outfits, the male dancer pulls a woman dancer to him by the belt in one of the dance movements.
Alianait presents Jorggáhallan at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sept. 21 at Joamie Elementary School. Tickets for adults are $22 in advance and $25 at the door, and $12 for youth aged 13 to 18. The show is free for elders and children under 12, who are accompanied by an adult.