Round Dance

The University of Alberta Annual Round Dance brings together children, friends, families, youth and Elders of our community to share stories, catch up on news, break bannock, and share some tea. It is a time to honour traditions and memories of our ancestors.

About the Round Dance Ceremony

The Round Dance ceremony illustrates the Cree philosophy of death and its relationship between us and Spirits. The Northern Lights are said to be our relations that have passed on. The Elders say that the people that have passed on come to dance with us at the Round Dance; in that respect our relatives are always here with us. In this dance people move like the Northern Lights, in an up and down motion as they dance around the drum.

We join hands in a circle and dance clockwise with the drum and singers sitting in the middle. The beat of the drum is like the heartbeat of the community and all members move as one. The Round Dance was a healing ceremony that became a social dance for our people and a dance that is held in the winter season. From the first tuning of the hand drums (by way of fire), to the fun of meeting old friends and making new, a Round Dance is for everyone, children, friends, families, youth and Elders. This is a time to swap stories, catch up on the latest news, break bannock, and share some tea. And even better, to hear both the old and new songs sung by your favorite singers.

It's a time to honor traditions and memories of our ancestors dancing around their starry campfires, flickering against the dark blanket of the night sky.