Hayley Leech of Aldergrove is a member of the Fort Langley Jiggers, an offshoot of the “Compaigni V’ni Dansi” Canadian company that teaches and performs traditional and contemporary Metis dance.
Artistic director Yvonne Chartrand, a Canadian Women’s Red River Jigging Champion, said that she was inspired by the late elder, Art Solomon, who told her that it was important to blend the traditional and contemporary in life.
Thus, Chartrand created the company to share the music, dances, stories, history and culture of the Metis for aboriginal and non-aboriginal audiences, with a special interest in passing the dances on to the youth.
This artist and community project was granted funding through the Canada Council for the Arts.
Hayley, a 17-year-old grade 12 student at Aldergrove Secondary, also studies hip hop dance at a local studio.
She wanted to explore her Metis heritage and she received 90 hours of training as a member of the Fort Langley Jiggers.
The troupe performed two shows daily over the past three weeks at Fort Langley National Historic Site before wrapping up the season on Sunday.