My heart was racing and we still had 10 more steps to do. The constant hopping in this Métis jigging festival was more of a workout than I had anticipated.
The fiddler starts playing the traditional Red River Jig here at the John Arcand Fiddle Festival and jiggers do as many traditional steps as they can. They only stop dancing when they run out (or drop dead from exhaustion!). That’s the format of the competition that happens tomorrow.
Our championship-winning instructor, Yvonne Chartrand, had taught us a total of 20 traditional steps over the last two days in the festival workshops that are a definite favourite (and free once you pay your admission fee- $40 for a 4-day pass).
It’s all fast, tight footwork that must be done as small as possible (for women) “to preserve your energy,” Yvonne constantly advises us. By the end of each one-hour workshop, we were wondering how to do things even smaller as we wiped the sweat away and grinned through beet red faces.
What I Liked:
- There are one-hour fiddling, jigging, guitar and piano lessons for the first two days of the festival. They’re all free after admission.
- The festival takes place on the private farm of Vicki and John Arcand, him being the famous fiddler dubbed, “The Master of the Métis Fiddle.”
- Heavy tents cover all of the workshop and performance areas, so even rain can’t spoil the fun.
- It’s all a very casual affair and a great way to try something new while listening to some fantastic music.