Dettrick Hala has been drum dancing since he was 15 years old. Now in his early 20s, he performs with a group of Inuit drum dancers from Kugluktuk in western Nunavut.
Alianait Arts Festival, Iqaluit
Dettrick travelled solo to Iqaluit to take part in the Alianait Arts Festival, where I watched him perform and took his drum dancing workshop. Although he tells his workshop group that some elders don’t think it’s traditional to drum dance in a group, he thinks it’s great.
“No one dances like us,” Dettrick says. “I think it’s cool when there’s lots of people drumming. It gets louder and more powerful.”
Inuit Drum Dancing
Drum dancing used to be seen at almost every gathering, whether celebrating a birth, marriage or successful first kill, or to greet visitors or honour the death of a community member. The tradition has always been an important part of Inuit culture.
Today, it is used in this same way on occasion, but most drum dancing is done for entertainment and at tourism events.