Terrance Littletent and Chancz Perry come from different dance worlds. Littletent has performed traditional First Nations hoop dancing for decades, while Perry has specialized in North American hip hop styles. On the surface, the two dance genres, one rooted in tradition, the other fairly modern, seem worlds apart. They appear to be separated by culture and centuries. To the average person, they would seem to have no common ground.
But when it comes to dance, Littletent and Perry are far from average. They knew their styles could intermingle in an exciting way and they wanted to develop that new dance form together.
“From the very start, we wanted to find a way to blend our dance styles together,” Perry said. “We found there are so many similarities [between the dance forms].”
“We hit it off really well,” Littletent said. “We adopted [Perry] into our family, so he’s an honourary Cree guy.”
In 2011, Perry and Littletent developed Hip Hop Hoop Dance, an educational cross-cultural blend of First Nations hoop dancing and hip hop. They’ve performed their show in Regina to critical acclaim.
Last January, they revamped the show and took it on the road, touring Saskatchewan schools. They stopped at the St. Alphonsus school gym in Yorkton on Apr. 26, performing for dozens of students and teachers.
“It went wonderfully, just judging from the students’ response,” Perry said. “It was so gratifying because they were tossing out so many compliments along the way.
“It’s nice to hear that sort of feedback.”
In the show, Littletent performs a hoop dance when he is interrupted by Perry, who slides across the stage. Littletent teaches Perry about the history and style of hoop dance, showing him basic moves and techniques. Perry shares his hip hop experience as the two realize the commond bonds the styles share.
At the end of the show, the lights cut to black, revealing Littletent covered fluorescent clothing. The St. Alphonsus students cheered as he performed a glow-in-the-dark hoop dance. Littletent loves this part of the show.
“My blacklight performance...always seems to go really well,” he said. “When I hear them...oohing and aahing, it gives me that energy to dance harder...and put on a good show.”
The duo’s show has reached beyond schools. NDP MLA Nicole Sarauer highlighted their hard work at a mid-April edition of the Legislative Assembly.
“We’ve never had that sort of response,” Perry said. “That was another form of gratification.”
Perry and Littletent’s tour, which began on Apr. 9, wrapped up on Apr. 30. They plan to do a few shows in May and June.
Perry is blown away by the show’s success.
“It seems to be working well,” he said. “We’re just shocked.
“We were able to develop something that has risen to a new level.”