In Cree he is known as Nimihto Paskwa Mostôs Napew (Dancing Buffalo Man); fitting for a world champion hoop dancer. He dwells in a rare creative zone where ancient culture dictates form, time-honoured tradition renders script and Mother Earth keeps the beat.
By Pat Fream
To witness a live performance of Dallas Arcand’s hoop dancing is to connect to a vibration hovering somewhere between primal and existential. It may be the effect of the drums tuning the soul toharmony. It may be the singing – mournful and stirring. Most surely it’s the dancer, a brilliant spectacle of colour, skill and ardent focus.
“My dance is my life – it’s what I believe in and what I know best,” says Arcand, during an interview following his performance with his son Dallas Bobby Arcand Gladeau at the 25th Anniversary of Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. “It’s the story of our people and an appreciation of the land and Mother Earth. The goal is to restore balance and harmony in the world.”
Dallas took some time finding his way to serenity. Along the way he dabble in confusion, anger and crime, as is often the case with a people he calls his own. But once he found his path he committed himself to solid ground and high ideals, creating vast opportunities to match his plethora of talents.
“I hope I can be a shining light for my people. For me there’s a lot of integrity in that,” says Arcand, who has taken his 25-hoop dance routine to stages all over the world. “I am constantly creating new pieces of art through music, through dance, even in teaching my son to be a good person.”
Arcand also composes music, plays traditional cedar flute, has just released his fourth CD, and is trying his hand at film work. He is also engaged with programs that help young people reach their potential, beginning with his own son, who at age 14 is following in his father’s footsteps as a talented musician and a passionate hoop dancer.
“Teaching my son my craft means a lot to me, it keeps the circle going,” says Arcand. “I tell him the best thing you can do is show up on time, know your craft, be the best you can be and stay true to who you are and what you stand for.”
Performer at a benefit showcasing Alberta artist at the 2012 London Summer Olympics
Three time (including 2012) World Champion Hoop Dancer
Featured performer at 100th Anniversary of the Calgary Stampede.
April 2012 CD Release of Sacred Sweetgrass, an, eclectic collection of flute pieces played on a traditional cedar flute.
Played the role of Tecumseh (famous Shawnee Chief who fought and died during the War of 1812), for a TV documentary series.
Contestant on this season of Canada’s Got Talent.
Native American Hoop Dance is a form of storytelling that uses hoops as props to create static and dynamic shapes or formations representing various animals, symbols, and storytelling elements. The hoop has no beginning and no end; it represents the continuity of the spirits of all living things.