Up Here - November/December 2006

Up Here - November/December 2006

Up Here: Explore Canada's Far North is a magazine about the people, the land and the stories of the North. To learn more, visit www.uphere.ca.

Scroll down to read the articles in the latest issue of Canadian North's official in-flight magazine, now online.

Northern Dance Workshops Transform Youth

When Stephen Leafloor combined over 25 years of professional Hiphop dancing with Arctic dance, he knew he was in for something unique. He added his 20 years of social work experience to create a week long dance and life skills project for youth in Canada’s Arctic. What resulted was a coming together of the old and young, the traditional and the new, and then Hiphop in the north was born.

Educating Youth

Combining Hiphop and traditional dance give the youth a chance to explore their own culture.

With the help of Canadian North, Nunavut’s Promise to Children and Youth program brought together over one 100 youth (12 years old and up) in Iqaluit for the first workshop.

Since then Canadian North has been flying Stephen and his team to other communities to provide not just a physical dance workshop, but one that educated the youth in the history of their culture and addressed many of the difficult issues that effect their lives.

The youth had the chance to find their own voice and actively explore their culture and their dance movements through activities that encouraged them to link BeatBoxing and throat singing, as well as Hiphop moves with traditional dances.

But it’s not just the young people who are having fun. At the end of the workshops the community is invited for a showcase evening where all the dancers demonstrate their new moves to friends and parents. At the showcase event in Clyde River some of the elders even learned to scratch records on the turntables, creating their own version of Hiphop music. Elders are saying that this may be the most important project for their youth in many years.

Creating Positive Change

They’ve also been amazed to see their kids up on stage, transformed into confident, talented dancers. “It’s not just about new friends and new skills, it was really about creating positive change,” explains Gillian Corless, the coordinator for Nunavut’s Promise to Children and Youth, “More than a month after the project ended, we see the community carrying the lessons forward: teachers see students dancing in the hallways, more experienced dancers volunteer to teach others, five local breakdancing crews have been formed and are invited to give performances at community events.” All the kids know that if they want to attend dance practice they have to be in school and they have to show up sober.

To continue this program and help these youth grow their new found talents, Canadian North is providing flights for Stephen and his team so they can lead workshops in new communities. Canadian North will also fly northern youth to dance festivals in Ottawa including Canada’s Dance Festival at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa next year. For more information, check out Stephen’s website at www.blueprintforlife.ca.

Santa & Canadian North Visit Northern Communities

Canadian North and Santa are collaborating again to bring Christmas joy to the children of the NWT and Nunavut during the 13th Annual Canadian North Santa Tour.

Santa gives his reindeer the day off and travels on regularly scheduled Canadian North flights to visit with the children onboard and at each community’s airport (except Cambridge Bay where Santa visits at the elementary school due to the large number of children). Santa also visits hospitals, group homes, shelters, elder homes and other community venues across the north.

Each child receives a personal visit with Santa and a special Canadian North treat bag containing Christmas treats and toys donated by Canadian North and its suppliers. A total of 3,500 treat bags are distributed across the north. Each bag is packed by a team of volunteers at Canadian North’s head office in Yellowknife. It is a labor of love indeed.

“The annual Christmas Santa Tour is one of the special ways Canadian North serves its northern communities,” said Petrina McDaniel, marketing manager at Canadian North, “When Santa gets off the aircraft you see the excitement on the children’s faces and the Christmas spirit comes alive in everyone”. She continued saying, “We have so many dedicated staff in our head office and the airports plus our flight crew and suppliers who team up to make Christmas extra special for as many children as possible”.

Children eagerly await the Canadian North Santa visits across the north because when Santa comes to town with Canadian North, Christmas morning can’t be far behind!

Watch for the dates Santa will be coming to your area.