Iqaluit is alive with the sound of music…

Alianait is Canada’s ‘hottest, coolest music festival’…or so the t-shirts say.

Its a ten day festival featuring artists from all over.  The city is full of visual arts, storytelling, music, film, dance, circus acts and workshops.

I have attended the opening ceremonies, Saturday night’s circus performance, Nuuttuituq, a traditional Greenlandic folk dancing workshop and an evening of films including the premiere of two made-in-Nunavut films, as well as a two-minute short film comissioned as part of the Olympic games which shows the Inuit High Kick in slow motion performed by one of the territory’s celebrated athletes.

The opening ceremonies featured local talents as well as Digging Roots, a Juno-winning band that sung about some of the injustices Aboriginal people have historically and continuously experience, as well as freedom, beuaty and truth.

Nuuttuituq featured Artcirq, a performance group that incorporates Inuit traditions, legends and drum-dancing, hip hop, music, and circus.  I saw them in February prior to their Olympic performances at Northern House.  There was also a dance group from Greenland that performed folk dances and showcased beauitful handmade dress.I attended their workshop on Sunday afternoon and found out I am becoming slightly better at following a male lead when dancing.  The language barrier which made verbal instruction difficult and nearly non-existent beyond counting may have facilitated my willingness to follow, but nonetheless, it was an entertaining hour.

The movies last night were quite interesting as well.  One was the final project for two Ryerson film students and was the short story of two high school students, one who had never left Iqaluit and one who had recently returned after living most of his life in Montreal. 

Slow motion is a powerful depiction of the athleticism and strength involved in the Inuit High Kick.

The last movie, The White Archer, was produced in Pond Inlet and featured the local youth group there.  It is a traditional Inuit legend about family, revenge and survival.  The group has lots of aspirations about future films and has already produced a number of performances, including one addressing addictions and substance use. 

All in all, its been one very fun event