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Cuttin' a rug Chesterfield style
Community's youth taught finer points of square dancing

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A group of youths had the chance to sharpen their square-dancing skills thanks to the guidance of four instructors in Chesterfield Inlet this past month.

NNSL photo/graphic

A group of young square dancers from Victor Sammurtok School perform at the Easter Feast Celebration in Chesterfield Inlet earlier this month. - photo courtesy of Jacinthe Amarok

The program was initiated by the community's health committee and approved for funding by the hamlet and regional wellness program co-ordinator Pelagie Sharp.

Amie Aggark, Georgina Ipkarnerk, Bryton Papak and Luke Sammurtok instructed the youths.

Jacinthe Amarok said the members of the health committee felt a square-dancing program was important for the community's youth.

She said a little more instruction would open the doors for Chesterfield youth to start attending square-dancing competitions across the Kivalliq and other parts of Nunavut.

"You hear about these competitions outside of Chester all the time, and nobody's teaching the young boys and girls how to square dance properly here," said Amarok.

"So, if they do get the chance to go out of town, they can't compete with the kids from other communities.

"But it's just not about the competition because square dancing is a lot of fun for the kids who get into it, and it also helps keep them out of mischief.

"Unfortunately, we don't have a lot of square dancing in Chester, even though it's one way Inuit like to be happy, because we don't have a performing band here right now."

The square-dancing program ran twice a week in Chesterfield Inlet, from March 1 until March 28, after the committee received its funding.

Amarok said children who get into square dancing in the community use a CD player to provide the music.

She said there's not many people who can really teach the kids to properly square dance, so the committee was quite happy to see four motivated individuals step up for the program.

"There were 13 kids who attended the sessions regularly and they really enjoyed them.

"After the program was over they were asking if there was any way we could keep it going, but there's no funding available now.

"They were getting really good by the end of the program, and they put on an awesome show for the community on Easter Monday following our Easter Feast Celebration.

"This is something we'd really like to be able to get going again sometime in the future."

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