The International Children’s Festival of the Arts is back. It enters its 38th year (25 years in St. Albert) beginning May 28. It’s the largest festival of its kind in North America, educating and entertaining thousands of young people each spring.
This year, the festival brings in Nimihitowin!, which showcases powwow dance, hoop dancing and Metis jigging. (Currently sold out except for the June 1 and June 2 performances.) It’s led by Jessica McMann, an award winning dancer and flutist from Calgary. Caitlin North, the fesitval’s programmer, tells Jacob LeBlanc of Windspeaker Radio there are eight dancers that will perform various styles of dance. And they will be on the main stage.
The full list of performances throughout the festival, which runs until June 2, can be found on the website at www.childfest.com
Feature performances also includes the Koo Koo Kanga Roo dance-along comedy party and Won’Ma Africa, a circus-style show created by Kalabanté Productions, an African/Québécois circus troupe.
Dreamweaving is one of many workshops offered. It provides youngsters hand-on experience with texture, imagination and fun while they re-purpose a variety of materials, including fabric, beads and yarn, to create a small woven wall hanging.
Workshops also include cultural experiences like the Canadian Heritage Trail, where kids learn to appreciate other cultures, and Shazamadoo!, in which participants learn magic tricks with Malcolm Russell.
The festival provides an opportunity to participate in arts that children may not get in the classroom or in their homes, said North.
“It’s a really affordable and great way for families to experience it together and get the opportunity to learn.”