School of Music Researcher Curates Acadian Dance Exhibition
On June 19, 2016, Dr. Meghan Forsyth (Project Coordinator at the Research Centre for Music, Media and Place (MMaP) and Adjunct Professor in the School of Music) opened a new exhibition she curated on Acadian dance traditions at the Acadian Museum of Prince Edward Island. The interactive, bilingual exhibition, entitled “Dansez! Acadian Dance Traditions on Prince Edward Island, Past and Present” will be on display until December 2016. There is also an accompanying website (www.danseacadienne.ca) that features photos, videos and guest contributions by leading scholars and dance practitioners. The exhibition documents step dancing and “set” dancing traditions and their associated musical traditions through oral histories and archival photographs, audio recordings and videos. Visitors can contribute their own memories and even have the opportunity to learn a few step dance steps and perform danse assise (seated step dancing) at two iPad stations.
This project draws on Dr. Forsyth’s ethnographic, archival and collaborative field research in the Island Acadian community between 2006 and 2013. “There has been a lot of interest from the community in recent years in older forms of Acadian step dancing and set dancing,” said Dr. Forsyth. “What has been most exciting about this project is the opportunity to collaborate with such a diverse team of people–culture-bearers, community members, regional scholars, internationally renowned dancers, musicians and choreographers, museum and arts sector colleagues, archivists, community groups, teachers, students and technical professionals—and to see peoples’ reactions to the old photos and videos we unearthed and digitized.” The project was received generous funding from the SSHRC Connection Grant program, the Helen Creighton Folklore Society and la Fédération culturelle de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard.