Dance and Athletic Groups
Alberta is a province made up of many different cultural groups. When they immigrated, many people brought with them unique forms of dance, music, and sporting activities. Often, as the group begins to practise their art or sport in Alberta, they begin to modify it to create a new blend of old and new traditions.
- Balada Romanian Folk Dance Ensemble
- The Balada Romanian Folk Dance Ensemble is a group of adults in Edmonton who learn traditional Romanian folk dances. They have performed across Canada at folk festivals. They have also been on tour three times in Romania where they have been praised for the authenticity of their dances.
- Shumka Dancers
- The Shumka Dancers are a professional Ukrainian Dance Company based in Edmonton, Alberta. The company was founded in late 1950s to preserve Ukrainian culture. The company, however, has expanded and developed its own unique style of Ukrainian-Canadian dancing. The Shumka dancers have performed across Canada and have the sixth highest box-office returns of all Canadian touring dance troops. The Shumka Dancers have also started the Shumka School of Dance which begins teaching young children. The Shumka dancers have often been asked to represent Canada culturally because they show how a traditional art form can be modified to become Canadian.
- Polanie is a non-profit Polish dance association based in Calgary. It offers Polish dance classes for people of all ages. Much of the choreography is a stylized version of Polish folk and national dances. The association is committed to keeping Polish culture, especially dancing, alive in Canada while at the same time offering dynamic interpretations. Polanie performed at the opening ceremonies of the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.
- Movements is an Afro-Caribbean dance ensemble based in Edmonton. It strives to be a multicultural, inclusive company and tries to teach others about African and Caribbean cultures. As well as teaching dance classes and workshops, Movements also gives presentations at schools and at charitable events.
- Bocce was popularized by the ancient Romans, although a version of the game had been played in Egypt as early as 5000 BC. Bocce involves bowling, half-throwing half-rolling, balls and trying to get them as close as possible to a target. While there are international bocce federations who create strict rules regarding bocce court size, ball size, and game regulations, bocce is also a fun game to play recreationally in the park or backyard. Bocce was brought to Alberta by the Italian immigrants. Today, people can play bocce in parks throughout Alberta, and towns often hold bocce tournaments. Bocce is also one of the sports played at the Alberta 55 Plus (Senior) Games.
- Taekwondo is an ancient Korean martial art form that involves only the feet and the hands. In 2000, Taekwondo became an Olympic sport. Taekwondo stresses the importance of mental training as well as physical defense. A student is trained not only in physical actions, but also in self-discipline and confidence. Taekwondo is a popular sport in Alberta. There are more than 60 Taewkondo schools across the province; all belong to the Alberta Taekwondo Association.
- Karate was begun by unarmed monks traveling in India and China; they needed a way to protect themselves. The martial artform eventually reached Japan where it combined with Japanese culture and martial arts to emerge as what is today known as karate. It is important that karate be practised with courtesy, dignity, and detachment. In Alberta, karate is a popular sport, organized by the Karate Alberta Association. There are many different styles of karate, taught in over 30 karate schools throughout the province.
- Capoeira is a traditional Brazilian fusion of martial arts and dance. Two people face off in a Capoeira game and perform a series of attacks and counterattacks to the accompaniment of music. Music is an important part of Capoeira and many of the songs have lyrics in Portuguese. To the untrained eye, Capoeira looks like a choreographed dance. It trains the body and the mind and it is supposed to help people develop graceful, fluid, and strong movements and a sense of self-confidence. Both Calgary and Edmonton have Capoeira schools.