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Dancing to a different jig

“One more, one more!”

Kids seemed to love Re-Jigged as much as their parents. They learned Gaelic by playing games in a circle, and from the sounds of it, they had a great time.

The Celtic music and dance festival was a loud one. At Dartmouth’s First Baptist Church and Christ Church Hall on Saturday, there were about a dozen workshops happening at one time.

President and co-founder Glenn Coolen says that’s what makes Re-Jigged special.

“Our festival grew out of workshops rather than performances,” Coolen explained. “Most festivals start as a concert and grow there to fill in the days. Whereas our thing went in the opposite direction. We started as a series of workshops during the days and added concerts to it.”

The workshops are the heart of the festival, but the concerts shouldn’t be missed.

“We’re excited for the Friday night concert because it’s a bit different…we’ve brought a session like the one in a pub that’s performance based. So the artists will be in a circle in the middle of the floor and the audience will be on the same level with them but in a complete circle around them. So it’s like a session in the round.”

Heather Colquhoun says the sessions are a unique experience.

“They’re traditionally Irish. It’s nice for people to sit in, see how it works, and have all the styles together.”

Colquhoun came to Re-Jigged for a Quebecois Dance workshop. Dominic Desrochers from the band Bon Débarras taught an enthusiastic group of a dozen dancers.

“Woo! On lache pas! Don’t give up!” he yelled as dancers giggled over missteps.

Dancers learning Quebecois dance with Dominic Desrochers. (Photo by Emma Meldrum)
Dancers learning Quebecois dance with Dominic Desrochers. (Photo by Emma Meldrum)

At Saturday night’s concert, dancers had a chance to practice their new moves. The evening was split in half: the first section was a performance, the second a dance.

Coolen said on Saturday that participation numbers were up again. Every year, organizers aim to increase attendance by 15 or 20 per cent. At the same time, they’re trying to tap into a new demographic.

“We’re also trying to reach out to people who are on the periphery or who are younger students.”

To that end, there’s a ‘session’ (spontaneous communal music making, according to Re-Jigged’s website) just for youth.

And of course, the Gaelic language workshop the kids got such a kick out of.

“One more!”

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