Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dancing bears and dancing kids

Johnny Papigatuk, the carver who comes by David and Frances' house sometimes to show off his work, is famous for his dancing bears. They are made so that they can stand many different ways, and they all look a little like they are dancing. Johnny uses only hand carving tools, which gives his bears a unique, quirky look. These three little bears are only about two inches high, but they have so much personality... I just had to take a picture of them. I am starting to get to meet some of the artists now and see some of their work. The stone carvings are worth about a hundred dollars an inch in galleries, but if you could see how much work goes into them, you'd think that was cheap. The constant hum from the stone grinders and the sound of chipping and stone hammers punctuates the air here day and night.

Meanwhile, bringing it back to modern times and speaking of dancing, there was a dance tonight at the school. I think the kids must have been looking forward to it all day so needless to say things were a little crazy during class!

In some ways we had an awesome teaching day with lots of creativity and some wonderful breakthough moments, but we also had a lot of wild and crazy stuff going on. I did get to read through our play with all the of the kids and we managed to finish painting our Qalllupilluit masks... We had a great math activity, which involved learning centres and a couple of math games... I got to make rainsticks with the other grade fours class while our class was in the library... and I had a couple of great moments with some of the kids who have been struggling a little bit with writing.

I had volunteered to come back for the big dance, so after school I went home, whipped up some chicken noodle soup with cheese biscuits (comfort food!), ate and then raced back.

There was a little committee of kids that helped set up a canteen and some chairs and of course they had to make a crown for the "king and queen" of the dance.

Again, in many ways this was just what you might expect of a dance for grades three to five... there were lots of kids who were shy about dancing, but they ended up joining in eventually. Many kids just goofed around laughing and trying everything from hip hop moves to the macarena.

The fact that they played hockey on the front step while they were waiting to be let in (just to keep warm- it is a desparately cold night!) is a little different, but essentially this was a typical pre-teen night of giggling fun. 

Near the end of the dance one of the teachers announced that everyone should find a partner for the "Inuktitut Dance", so I was swamped with offers... I ended up being partners with quite a few kids and they swept me up in a sort of Scottish country dance meets drum dancing... I wasn't really sure what was going on, but the kids helped me figure out, and they were unbelievably enthusiastic. It was great to see them blowing off steam and nice to spend the evening being silly with them.

Tonight as I finish off my post for the day, I can hear the howl of the wind... we are supposed to go out on the land with all the teachers tomorrow, but it sounds and looks like a blizzard out there. Even the nightly snowmobiles are not as active tonight. I'm going to head to bed and hope that the weather turns before tomorrow morning so I can have a taste of what it's like to be on the land before I leave.

And tonight, thanks to Johnny and to the kids at the school, I will be able to count little dancing bears and little dancing kids to send me off to sleep.

1 comment:

  1. I hope you sang them "Waltzing with Bears" :-)

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