It’s expensive to make the trip up to Canada’s arctic, but when an annul event like the Alianait Arts Festivalhappens, I do my best to be there.
This year, with the help of Nunavut Tourism, the Canadian Tourism Commission, Canadian North airline and the festival itself, I was able to spend almost a week in Iqaluit taking in some northern spirit: music, dance, films and culture.
Alianait Arts Festival, Iqaluit
An 11-day event, artists from all over Canada perform, teach workshops and take in Iqaluit. I saw the same faces day after day, either beside me at an Inuit drum dancing workshop or grooving to the nightly music under the big tent.
I would come home every night to a family I was staying with and feel like I just had the most genuine travel experience. Not everyone gets up north, so I suppose I did, but I think all visitors finish off the day feeling like they’ve just had a day that no one else could have had.
There are no cookie cutter experiences here, so everyday feels like you’ve done something special. And we have, yet that’s the norm here.
Cultural Dance Workshops
I leave Iqaluit having taken workshops in Inuit drum dancing, Greenlandic mask dancing and folk dancing, throat singing, and even Bollywood dancing; I watched performances by the circus troupe from Nunavut, youth drum dancers from the local high school, Inuit games by Johnny Issaluk, and the children’s group The Funky Mamas.
The Midnight Sun
Every evening the crowd would step out of the cirque du soleil-like tent and into the bright sun-filled night, still burning bright at 10:00 pm.
I only wish that more people from the south could some up here and experience a festival like this. I say, ditch the all-inclusive tropical vacations and save up for a trip to the arctic. There’s nothing like it. This is my third time up north and my life and outlook on life has changed every time. It’s profound and I wish everyone could experience it.