Hoop dancer Teddy Anderson on the Great Wall of China. Anderson has made three visits to China during his time as a hoop dancer and will be in the Kootenays from May 6 - 9.

World renowned hoop dancer to visit Rossland

Teddy Anderson will be visiting area schools including Rossland's MacLean Elementary School on May 6.

World renowned First Nations’ Hoop Dancer Teddy Anderson will be visiting area schools—including Rossland’s MacLean Elementary School on May 6—and the Mir Centre for Peace between May 6 and May 9.

Anderson, who has performed in 16 countries, spoke with the Castlegar News Tuesday, April 30 about the message he hopes to convey during his performances.

“I have seven shows lined up at schools,” said Anderson. “My first show is Monday, May 6 at Fruitvale Elementary, then I’m at MacLean Elementary later that afternoon, then I’m in Trail on May 7 and then have two shows in Castlegar on Wednesday, May 8. I’ll be at Kinnaird Elementary at 9 a.m. and Twin Rivers Elementary at 12:50 p.m.”

The performance at the Mir Centre for Peace will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 9.

Information supplied by Anderson shows that many First Nation’s cultures have evolved different styles and customs around the hoop dance. The hoop dance was a way for traditional healers of various tribes to pray, meditate and become stronger in spirit.

While in the past a single hoop was used hoop dancers today have started using many more. Anderson uses as many as 30 hoops at a time.

As each hoop dancer develops, builds and grows their unique style of performance it becomes a reflection of their equally unique life story.

“The performances usually last about 45 minutes,” said Anderson. “For me — and this depends on the dancer you talk to — it’s about the message. You have this beautiful, incredible dance and this artistic and athletic skill but after each dance I break down what I did and explain the concept of how we’re all one global family and break it down to spiritual truths. I talk about the importance of understanding your own culture and acknowledging your history and where you come from and learning from it, being solid as an individual and how that relates to transformation of the society.”

Anderson said the dance is a lot of fun but also very inspirational.

Hoop dancing has opened many doors for Anderson since graduating from the University of Victoria with a degree in Child and Youth Care.

He has spoken to many audiences around the world on issues such as racism, bullying, violence, the importance of education, human rights and youth peace building. He was in China earlier this month.

“My brother and sister in law live in China and work at an international school and wanted me to come over and perform for the school,” he said. “We put out the word to other schools and it ended up being enough to bring me over. I spent a week and had six shows, two photo shoots and a magazine interview. It was pretty intense.”

There is no fee to attend the performance at the Mir Centre for Peace on Thursday, May 9; donations are accepted. The performance is open to all and being co-sponsored by the Mir Centre for Peace, The Gathering Place and Aboriginal Services. Refreshments will also be served.