Getting Jiggy With It

History of Jigging & Square Dancing

A blend of First Nations’, Irish, French, Scottish, Celtic dance.   Music is played by Fiddle which is rooted from Celtic, Irish, Scottish sounds with Indigenous rhythms that make the music energetic and make anyone tap to the rhythm. Most famous is the Red River Jig – written by Alexander Begg and dates back to 1867.  There are oral accounts of the dance going back to 1830’s of the Northern Plains.  Today, mostly recognized as the Red River Jig of the Metis and referred to as the Metis National Anthem.   Jigging is most relevant to First Nations and the Metis, it is the dance of champions.  The Jig is a one, two, one kick step with a mix of fancy footsteps and changes. Dancers compete showing off their traditional jig mixed with that fancy step and show off their fastest footwork!

Square Dancing
Around for centuries, going back to European roots.   Today, Square Dancing has become a part of First Nations and Metis gatherings, during Pow Wows, Sporting Events, and family gatherings. Following the traditional styles of the European origins and blending in the music of the fiddle and fancy footwork, Square Dancing has become an attraction for enthusiasts from tiny tot groups to Golden Age dancers.   In Manitoba, there are a couple of styles that stand out, the Northern Style Square Dance and the Southern Style Square Dance.  It’s all in the footwork!

Thank you to our dance groups: 

Ivan Flett Memorial Dancers are three siblings from Winnipeg, Manitoba who share a passion for dance, not just any dance it's all about the Red River Jig! 

Michael, Jacob and Cieanna Harris began dancing at the young age of five years old. Michael being the oldest started performing his own solo shows, Jacob followed his brother footprints and they became a duo show, Cieanna enjoyed watching her brothers perform, she learned and they became a trio group and they have been inseparable since then.   

They perform traditional dances of the Red River Jig mixed with modern dancing known as the hip hop jig. Through their gift of dance they have had great opportunities to travel the world and they hold numerous achievements and awards.

Their main focus is to attract youth through the rhythm and style of the hip hop jig. They hope to motivate and inspire people of all ages, and bring awareness that their culture is going strong and continues to be ambitious with this dance and music. 

Formally known as the Slick and Lil J Show, back in 2012 they lost one of their biggest fans and proud supporter, Grandpa Ivan Flett passed away, it was with great sadness but an honour to rename themselves the Ivan Flett Memorial Dancers. Every dance they do is in honour of him. 

Their show wouldn't be complete without the outfits and they give a huge thank you to their Grandma Dawn Harris-Flett who designs and custom makes all their attire. Thanks to Designs by Dawn! 

IFMD would also like to thank all of their fans and family for their continued love and support.

The Métis Club Traditional Dancers are an adult dance troupe from Winnipeg who have been together for 13 years. The Métis Club Traditional Dancers name was taken on due to the group having dance practice at the Metis Club of Winnipeg weekly - as well as volunteering to teach others who were interested in dancing. This dedicated group has become a staple at the Metis Club and in the square dance community throughout Manitoba attending every event possible. Many of their performances have been outside of Manitoba and a few in the US. When requested the group enjoys showcasing many of the Métis traditional dances such as the Duck Dance, Drops of Brandy, Reel of Four and Reel of Eight and many other traditional dances to instill the traditional art of Metis dancing.

The Métis Club Traditional Dance group is very honored to be performing at such a wonderful event to showcase both jigging and traditional square dancing. They would like to thank all the organizers of Manito Ahbee for inviting them to share their love for the Métis dance during the celebration of the Manito Ahbee festival of indigenous cultures.