Gauging the public’s interest in a youth dance-centred mentorship program, the Northern Prairie Dancers are hosting a dinner meeting on Sunday.
The Northern Prairie Dancers’ performance at last year’s Voices of the North show was all the evidence team manager Marlene Bear said that she needed to convince her that a youth mentorship program was worth looking into.
During the 13 to 21-year-olds’ performance, “the young boys sat there and they just stared,” Bear said, adding that they appeared transfixed by the dancers on stage.
“We have younger boys that like watching them, and they say they want to try that some day,” youth team manager Cindy Ballantyne said, adding that it’s not just boys, but girls who want to join the group, too.
Ballantyne is currently putting together a group of kids aged seven to 12 who are interested in starting up a younger version of Northern Prairie Dancers -- a feat that shouldn’t be too difficult judging from the response garnered so far, she noted.
Although Ballantyne will manage the young group, older dancers will do the teaching, Bear said.
The Northern Prairie Dancers perform a combination of jigging, square dance and clogging, complete with their “own spin on it,” Bear explained.
But, she added, the older mentors will teach much more than just the art of dance, but of living a healthy lifestyle, as well.
“That’s really important to us,” Bear said, adding that youth who become entangled in a negative lifestyle of drugs and alcohol aren’t allowed in the group.
The hoped for end result is socially conscious youth who are able to flourish with a high self-esteem.
Anyone interested in joining or helping the Northern Prairie Dancers is encouraged to attend Sunday’s meeting, Bear said.
The group currently comes with its challenges that need overcoming, she added. Dancers are currently getting restless, having been unable to practice together for the past two weeks due to a lack of consistent practice venue.
Although they have a consistent practice location during the summer, they’re unable to afford to heat the building they’ve been provided free of charge.
The group also needs to find volunteers able to sew dance regalia, as all of the dancers must look professional and clean-knit while dancing, Bear said, noting that they perform at some prestigious events, such as a private show next week in Saskatoon, where they will open for country music star Terri Clark.
Sunday’s dinner meeting will begin at 4 p.m. at the St. Mary High School’s community room, which can be accessed by the north door.
Although they’ve traditionally been an aboriginal dance group, Bear said that there’s no racial requirement to join or participate in their efforts.
More information about the group can be found through calling Bear, at 960-6087, or by texting Ballantyne, at 940-0858.