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Three-time world-hoop dancing champ performs at Yorkton schools

Performance part of OSAC tour and to promote new book.
World champion hoop dancer Dallas Arcand visited two schools in Yorkton April 16 and 17 as part of an OSAC tour.

YORKTON – The three-time world champion hoop dancer Dallas Arcand performed at two schools in the city April 16 and 17.

Arcand is currently on the road in the province until the 25th as part of an OSAC (Organization of Sask Arts Councils) tour and will return to the province mid-May for several more performances.

For over 30 years Arcand has been hoop dancing and performing, winning the World Hoop Dance Championship in 2007, 2008 and 2012 as well as dancing at the opening ceremonies for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and the 2012 Olympics in London. 

But his initial reason for learning the method wasn't to become a world champion, it was to learn more about the roots of his heritage.

"Mainly it was to get into the culture because when I grew up I didn't really have much culture even though I was raised on a reserve," Arcand told in an interview ahead of the performances.

"I grew up in a First Nations community. One of the things I often talk about in my presentations is the fact that at one point our culture was almost outlawed by the government, the church and the residential school system," said Arcand, adding, "At one time it was illegal for us to practice our culture as Indigenous People."

Arcand said he grew up on the Alexander (Kipohtakaw) Plains Cree First Nation in Alberta, part of Treaty 6 Territory.

"That's one of the things I emphasize ... when I first learned about hoop dancing it was fairly new to me too because I didn't really grow up with it," said Arcand, adding, "I didn't really know much about it. I had to re-learn about my cultural identity just through practice and time and efforts that I've taken over the years to do so," said Arcand.

Arcand said that although the hoop dancing is the highlight of the performance on the tour, it's not the only art form he practices.

"I share Indigenous style songs and obviously the dance part — the dance is the big highlight — but also I do story-telling and I talk so a lot of my talks are educationally engaging with the students and telling my story about who I am and informing them about our culture and the cultural diversity within that as well," said Arcand.

And when it comes to story-telling, Arcand is no stranger to that either, having recently completed his first book, 13 Hoops Life's Lessons Lived and Learned.

"It's an Indigenous interpretation of the world through the lens of a world-champion hoop dancer," said Arcand of his freshly penned book, noting it's "a contemporary style book where I talk about the culture and the education. I talk about my own journey."

"In a way it's kind of a self-help book as well because I share how I've overcome a lot of adversity in my life and how it's gotten me to places beyond my wildest dreams in a big way," said Arcand.

"I've travelled around the world and I've met Prime Ministers, Premieres of provinces — I've met celebrities. I've worked on some of the biggest stages in the country and in the world," said Arcand, adding, "I'm one success story and that's really what my book is all about — about sharing that success but at the same time paying forward the knowledge of the things I've learned in my 30-plus years of dancing."

Arcand said the book is one of many that he plans to release, noting the first iteration of his written endeavour was roughly 70,000 words and the published version is around 25,000.

"It's a decent amount," said Arcand.

Arcand said the book is a "hybrid" and uses QR codes to engage the readers with more of his content including past TED Talks, performances and music he's created.

As for the tour, Arcand is scheduled for 12 more Saskatchewan dates at school's around the province.

"I know that Sask has a lot of talent and it's just a great honour for me to be performing in this territory," said Arcand, acknowledging other notable hoop dancers from the province such as Terrance Littletent.

"It's an honour for me to be in the territory of great people in this great province," said Arcand, adding, "It's a beautiful place and I love it and I don't care if people think it's flat I think it's beautiful because it's got a lot more than the flat prairies people often make fun of."

For more information on Dallas Arcand, visit his website at