New Brunswick fiddler and dancer is one of many young people carrying the Celtic torch at this weekend’s ReJigged Festival in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
What is your own ethnicity/heritage?
I grew up in the small french acadian village of Memramcook, in south-eastern New Brunswick. My father’s family is mostly all Acadian and my mother’s family has Irish and Scottish roots.
What inspired you to take up dancing & fiddle?
I decided to take up the fiddle when I was watching a little outdoor concert for Acadian Day (celebrated on August 15th). There was a very talented fiddle player on stage and I loved the sounds that were coming out of the instrument. I was instantly hooked and have been ever since. About a year after I started fiddle lessons at Jocelyne Bourque’s Fiddling and Step Dancing School, I decided to start taking up step dancing lessons after seeing dancers perform at one of the school’s annual concerts. I have loved step dancing ever since.
Are they the same reasons you do it today?
Loving the sound and style of both fiddling and step dancing still keep me inspired today. Another reason I keep doing it today is because I love teaching fiddling and step dancing to others so that the culture can live on and spread to greater areas.
How would you describe your style for each?
I don’t know if I have one specific style of fiddling. I’ve learned many different styles and types of fiddle tunes from across Canada. I feel like I’ve incorporated several styles of fiddle music to create my own style. I’m rooted in Acadian, French Canadian, Irish, Cape Breton, and Scottish styles mostly. Unlike the fiddle, I have a more specific step dancing style. It’s based on a lot of Acadian styled step dancing. Although I have learned some Ottawa Valley style step dancing I base most of my routines on an Acadian style.
What have been some career highlights?
One of my career highlights would be that I was fortunate enough to represent the province of New Brunswick three times at the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Championships. In dance, I have had the opportunity to perform at several venues across the Maritimes including the Men’s World Curling Championship that was held in Moncton, NB a few years ago.
What can audiences expect at your ReJigged show this weekend?
Over the weekend, audiences at ReJigged can expect a lively performance. It will be filled with various types of steps and lots of excitement! It should be a fun time.
Is enough being done to promote and preserve Celtic culture generally? What we we being doing better?
I feel like there is quite a bit of work being done to promote and preserve Celtic culture. However, there can always be more work done to help. Without the help from fellow individuals, the preservation and promotion of Celtic culture could decrease. That is why I think it is important to share your knowledge on the culture. With the help from our community we can help the Celtic culture grow.
What’s next on your creative agenda?
I am currently teaching the fiddle full time at a couple of the Long and McQuade Musical Education Centres in the Halifax Regional Municipality. Recently, I have been working on starting up step dance lessons at the education centres! I am hoping to keep performing and teaching wherever and whenever I can.