Several years ago I was asked to develop an activity for students, giving an experience of fingerweaving to a group of 10 to 20 students at a time, the session lasting only 20 minutes. I came up with the idea of ‘the fingerweaving dance’. I attach strings overhead and place numbers on the floor, one number for each string. Numbers are arranged in two lines, even numbers on one side, odd in the other. Students each take a string and stand on a number. I direct their movements. The students walk from number to number and the strings ‘weave’ together above their heads.
This ‘fingerweaving dance’ activity was part of the activity at the launch of my book at McNally Robinson Bookstore in March 08. To many, it was a highlight of the evening.
I keep telling people that it is my dream to find 120 well trained individuals so that I can weave a sash in an afternoon using this method.
Recently a local Métis businessman has taken my ‘fingerweaving dance’ seriously. He has worked hard to make the ‘Sash Weaving Squaredance’ a reality. The very first SashWeaving Square Dance will take place at St Boniface College on Nov 7, 2009, during the fiddling competition organized by local Métis organizations as part of the Manito Ahbee festival. I have been working with a group of métis dancers for this premiere. The hope is for an annual international competition based on rules to be set up shortly.
Brenda Lapointe and the Half Pints practice for the inaugural event, weaving a diagonal stripe.