WILLIAMSTOWN, Ontario – Char Lan District High School students in Williamstown were treated to a performance on Wednesday, October 14th, by Indigenous hoop dancer Feryn King, who had previously toured with Cirque de Soleil.
King, a resident of Akewsasne, recently toured throughout Europe with Cirque de Soleil; however, the show was put on hold due to Covid-19. As a result, King was able to perform at Char Lan and display her talent and share Indigenous traditions with students, socially distanced, outdoors.
King performed with the travelling circus in “Totem,” with the theme “Evolution of Humanity.” While her show is on hold, she continues to teach and perform locally and shares her love of dance with the community.
–Keean McDonell, gr. 12 student CLDHS
“Hoop dance is a form of storytelling through shapes, movements and is very symbolic. It is often mistaken for hula hoop dancing because of its same shape, but what differentiates between the two are the sizes. In hoop we manipulate and create shapes instead of spinning it on our head or around our waist or almost anywhere on our body.
They’re both beautiful to watch. The dance is known as a healing dance and is also entertaining to the eye. It can be danced in celebrations, weddings or even performed at burials. From what I’ve heard from my viewers, you get a positive ‘up feeling’ watching it.
It’s also looked at as an evolution dance – every movement looks like a surreal illusion. As a performer we give the audience their own perspective of what the shape is. The hoop itself is an important symbol to our people. It has many representations – the sun, the moon, the earth- even representation of the ring of marriage, and the never ending circle of life with no beginning and no end and even the medicine wheel.
We place tape onto the hoop representing the four directions.”