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Square dancing helps teens deal with a suicide epidemic in their community | Twilight Dancers

December 20, 2019

(lively fiddle music) – I’ve played the River
Red Jig so many times, since I’ve learned it, I’ve witnessed so
many great jiggers, and that’s my preference, just to play the River
Red and see others jig to my music. – I always get a
really good feedback on what I do on behalf
of my performances. They just say “Oh it’s
just jigging Des.” (laughs) No, it’s not just jigging, it’s actually something
I grew up doing, something I love to do. (kids mumbling) (Cherish giggling) – Cherish come here,
you have to come and comb your hair too. – CrossLake Competition
is happening right now, square dancing is on Saturday. Sometimes we win, and
sometimes we don’t, but it’s all about having fun. – [Abel] Cherish and
Demi you should start going to the school! – [Girl] Did Demi already leave? – [Abel] Yep, she’s outside. – [Girl] Okay. – They’re having a floor
hockey tournament outside, or something. (upbeat fiddle music) – [Desmond] I was
dancing since I was like 5 years old man (laughs), since I was a little boy. I remember my first time, I
was in my mom’s living room, and everyone was dancing,
everyone was dancing, and one of my brothers,
he’s like “Des. and that’s when I
was like, “Why, what “are you gonna do to me, man?” He’s like, And so I tried it, it didn’t
work out well. (laughs) It was funny, and
kind of embarrassing. This is what my brother
always used to say to me, “Just because you don’t
know how to dance now “Doesn’t mean that you’ll
never know to dance “in the future.” – [Woman] Okay Aleisha
and Anisha, ready? How! Yeah, you and Demi,
you and Chloe, how! (kids giggling) – I love teaching square
dancing, honestly. Not only for future generations, but to help them, it helps, even when
you’re going through a lot in life. Not only I’m teaching
them, but I’m also teaching myself. Not just to become
a better dancer, but to also to become
a better person. – Stage is right there! – Square dancing is fun, sometimes we get our
dances from YouTube, and then we bring a little
bit of our moves in there. – I basically use
square dancing for fun, to have fun, and I can
forget about stuff. – I like learning new
steps and all that, I really like the double step, it’s the certain step
everyone knows and does. If you know how to
do the double step you can do any type of
step in square dancing, jigging, and whatever. – One time, just one time. (yelling dancing directions) Okay, one, two, three, go. – [Cherish] When
the music starts you have to tell your
team “One, two, three”, and then you start
dancing all together. To know when you’re
going to make a move, you have to say “how”. How! (laughs) (lively fiddle music) – My thoughts on how
our land was colonized, and the residential came to be, the residential school,
it’s very sad because there was so much
hidden abuse behind it, and to take away the
important identity of who we were as a people in the beginning before
this ever happened. The new generation
that we’re having, we’re having a mixture of tunes, and we’re seeing a lot
of step dancing now, into the square dancing. – Square dancing
I think was always part of the culture growing up. Old times, eh, both my
grandpas played fiddle, and they held dances
in a local hall here. They would square dance there, and have a little competition. – [Woman] How! – I think square dancing
came from white people, (laughs) I don’t know. – The colonizers did
bring us square dancing in terms of teams
and what not, eh, but there was, of course,
the First Nations People incorporated some other
moves into the dance, eh? The colonizers, they
just used their feet, not so much the body, eh? Then First Nations
incorporated their dancing into the whole body, right? That’s the influence
the First Nations had on square dancing. – I know other people
that square dance but, sometimes they don’t want to, some kids like to judge, and act how they dance. Bullying, it happens
a lot, and suicides. (slow sad music) – Everybody out there,
doesn’t matter if it’s child, going on to elder,
everybody’s in pain. “Why would they do such a thing, to take their own life?” Some people don’t even
know how to express themselves no more because, there’s barely people
out there listening. – Some people commit suicide
because they get bullied. People like to bring down
each other on social media. They like to judge,
and then tease, and everything else. – Growing up in
my community here, bullying has always
become, main thing, either you’re a part of it, or you’re the one doing it, or you’re the one
getting bullied. I’ve been a part of both sides, but I’ve learned as I grew
up not to be like that, because I was losing friends, and I was only picking sides, and I knew that was
wrong, and right away I switched up my mind,
and bullying hurts. – I kind of do like living here, and I kind of don’t. Sometimes I don’t like
staying here because of the bullying. – I don’t like
bullying just because, I lost a good friend of
mine to it, to suicide. It was really hard. (melancholic music) – I haven’t danced
last festival, and I didn’t dance
in Indian Days, due to the suicide epidemic, and what was going
on, I couldn’t do it. The most tragic thing
that happened to me in my life is losing a brother. It was very devastating. I grew up in a violent place. Couldn’t focus on school
due to getting bullied, because of the color I wear. We kind of joined that violence, but that’s the past,
a past that I probably never want to go back to, never. (upbeat jig music) (tap shoes clinking) (energetic fiddle music) – When I play I always
recognize my community. They’ve been a
big support of me, from when I first started. This is me, and if
you can accept that, I promise you,
hate me or love me, that I’m gonna be the
best person as I could be, and showing my
respect for my people, and other people of
my Native culture. Pimicikamak Cree all over. – [Kelson Voiceover] It’s
kind of different how people dance, eh? How
they make their moves. – [Keshton Voiceover]
It’s probably coming from your spirit inside, that is letting you free
of what you’re doing, it’s going with the
music, the rhythm. – [Demi Voiceover] Before I
go on stage I’ll be nervous, you know when you
get butterflies, but then you know
it’s gonna be good when you get butterflies. – [Kassidy Voiceover] Five
seconds, and the music starts, and you know when to dance,
so you just start dancing. – [Cherish Voiceover] Kind of
nervous when you get on stage, cause everybody’s
looking at you. “Okay, do I remember
the dance?”, and stuff like that. – People are dreaming
of what cars, or a nice house, or
something, you know? My dream was to dance
with my brother, to light up that stage. (shoes tapping rhythymically) (lively jig music) (audience cheers) (audience cheers) – [Host] Way to go
there, Twilight Dancers! – I’ve seen who’s shoe
that broke, I’ve seen it, But tell her, that didn’t
stop her from you guys getting the crowd
going, you guys did! – [Woman] Everyone check
their shoe right now! – That’s how you dance! (cheers) Make the crowd go wild! (lively fiddle music) – The last fewest words
my brother told me, those words that got me
going everyday in life, throughout those years. (speaks in foreign language) Which means “Never give up.” And so I took it. – [Host] Twilight Dancers. – [Host] Desmond Colombe. (melancholy music) – I do believe that there
does come a time where us youths think about our lives, and what we wanna do, and it’s then on our choice to follow those dreams and
the right steps to take. We have the opportunity,
we just have to make them happen,
and when we do get them, make sure you don’t hold back, cause you might regret it
for the rest of your life. (melancholy music) – Everybody in this
community, as we speak, is a survivor. They survived through that 2016. And through the roughest,
the roughest year, toughest. We’re hurt, we’re
damaged, we’re broken, but we’re still standing strong. That’s the important thing
about this community, no matter what happens, to each and everyone
of us out here, all I know, that every
individual in this community, is one tough warrior. (rapid jig music) (crowd cheering) (upbeat jig music)

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