Cree Hoop Dancer Dallas Arcand Jr. shines at the Alberta Country Music Awards

Dallas Arcand Jr. at the Alberta Country Music Awards. Photo courtesy ACMA

By Chevi Rabbit, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

(ANNews) – Dallas Arcand Jr., from the Alexander First Nation, embodies the talent and indigenous brilliance nurtured by his family. The next generation took the stage and performed at the Alberta Country Music Awards, showcasing traditional hoop dancing to Canadian A-list country stars.

The Arcand Dynasty is known for their talent, creativity, and performance prowess, reshaping narratives in the face of intergenerational trauma, and defining themselves on their terms. Following in his father Dallas Senior’s footsteps, a three-time World Champion Hoop Dancer, Dallas Jr. emerges as a multi-talented artist, showcasing the family’s dynasty of creativity and performance.

Dallas Arcand Jr. (Photo courtesy of ACMA)

Dallas Jr. describes his first performance as a sink-or-swim moment. At the age of twelve, he faced a monumental challenge: performing for the first time in front of a crowd of twenty thousand at the prestigious Calgary Stampede. Initially hesitant and overwhelmed by the scale of the event, he said, “I was trying to cry to my farther, I said, I don’t want to go out there, I don’t want to.” Despite his fear, his father’s encouragement pushed him forward. “Nope, too bad,” his father declared, emphasizing the importance of seizing opportunities. “Otherwise, you don’t get to go on rides after.” With little choice but to confront his fears, Dallas took to the stage, guided by his father’s insistence that he embrace the challenge.

Reflecting on the experience, Dallas acknowledges the gravity of the moment, noting, “My first performance was in front of 20,000 people for the Rodeo Halftime Show.” Despite his initial trepidation, Dallas rose to the occasion, demonstrating remarkable courage and natural talent. The enormity of the crowd, while daunting, served as a catalyst for his growth and development as a performer.

In hindsight, Dallas recognizes the significance of that moment, describing it as his first step into the world of performance. “Who cares if it’s in front of 20,000 people at the Calgary Stampede?” he muses, acknowledging the formative impact of that early experience.

Reflecting on his father’s influence, Dallas Jr. shares, “So my father taught me the routine and gave me the core of what he uses. And, to compare it to music, Quincy Jones has a quote that you can always tell the musician from the personality of the music. So, it goes the same way with the dance.”

His hoop-dancing career reached new heights when he graced the stage alongside country music icon Brett Kissel at the Alberta Country Music Awards. “Seeing my name up there with Brett Kissel was surreal,” he admits. The multitalented Dallas Jr. also aspires to be a singer,

At the Country Music Alberta Awards in Edmonton, where many of Canada’s country music stars gathered, Dallas Junior stood out among them. While he performed as a hoop dancer, he also left the event inspired to continue developing his musical side.

Dallas Jr. explains, “I just came back from Yellowknife before I performed as a Cree Hoop Dancer at the music awards last night, like a 15-hour drive back from Yellowknife.” Upon arriving at the Alberta Country Awards, Dallas recounts, “So, I mean, I come back and run into Brett Kissel… At the beginning of the show, Ashley Callingbull was giving the rundown on the artists that are up for nomination.”

At the Country Music Awards, Dallas Jr. describes a thrilling moment for him. “They announced special thanks to our sponsors and then it says, with future guests, Brett Kissel, with appearances from special guests, Brett Kissel and performance by hoop dancer Dallas Arcand Jr.,” he recounts. “That’s so cool. So that part was like, oh, wow, that just really hit me, to have my name up there with Brett Kissel,” said Dallas Jr.

“It’s like, you know, we’re both very successful in our fields, and Brett Kissel is a hero of mine because I actually have a very strong love for country music as well after watching the Ken Burns documentary,” he continues. “And I even decided that I want to be the next Charlie Pride, the next big Native country singer.”

In addition to his performances, Dallas Jr. is passionate about sharing his heritage through music. “I have a kids’ album called ‘Rez Dog Blues’ available on Spotify and iTunes,” he shares. “It’s a project close to my heart, blending traditional and contemporary sounds to create something truly unique.”

As Dallas Jr. continues to navigate the entertainment industry, he remains grounded in his roots, drawing strength from his Indigenous heritage and the resilience of his ancestors. With each performance, he honours their traditions while forging new narratives that inspire and uplift audiences worldwide.

Dallas Jr. suggests that readers can look out for his music and book him for Hoop Dancing performances on his personal Facebook page. He calls on Canadians to support artisans by sharing content created by locals and encourages uplifting actions like hiring locals and buying Canadian products and services. Above all, he emphasizes the importance of sharing stories like this on their social media platforms.

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