Olympic performer brings hoop dance to residents

Edmonton General Continuing Care Centre residents were treated to a traditional hoop dance performance in their home.

Dallas Arcand Jr., who performed at the Winter Olympics in South Korea and Summer Olympics in London, did several traditional dances for residents during a recent visit.

“He is a world-class performer, and it is fabulous knowing he is a local boy,” says Shawn McCreight, a resident at the Edmonton General of almost six years. For Shawn, the performance brought back wonderful childhood memories of attending powwows.

Honouring diversity is an important part of resident care at the Edmonton General, especially since many residents have mobility issues and cannot easily go into the community to connect with their roots, says recreational therapist Pollyanna Kwong. “This way, they don’t have to leave their home to celebrate their cultures and reminisce on their backgrounds,” says Pollyanna.

The Edmonton General is home to people from many different backgrounds, and such visits also provide an opportunity for all residents to enjoy a diverse range of cultures and activities.

Emotion could be seen in the eyes of several residents, especially during a dance Dallas dedicated to the women who have gone missing on the Highway of Tears, a corridor of Highway 16 where women have been murdered or disappeared since 1970.

“His dance brought forth elation at one point, and when I heard about the missing women in B.C., it brought tears,” says Shawn.

A full-time hoop dancer, Dallas sees dancing for residents as an opportunity to give back to the community and spread positive energy.

“The hoop dance is actually a healing dance,” says Dallas, 21. “When I had done the performance today, I’m sure the whole room felt warm inside after, and that’s the power of the healing, the uplifting part from the dance.”

Each hoop dance tells a story, and Dallas says each person experiences a dance in a special way.

“I often tell my audiences that when they watch the dance, what they see is true to them. We’re all unique and diverse, so everyone gets their own experience when they watch the dance,” Dallas says.

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