For the third year in a row, Haudenosaunee dancers will gather at the Plank Road Ons Stop to compete in the annual smoke dance competition.
The event has been organized in loving memory of Lyle Anderson Sr., a renowned and loved Haudenosaunee dancer and singer who passed away suddenly on October 24, 2012 at the age of 35.
Anderson was known for his quick sense of humour often dazzling spectators with quick moves and comedic timing during his performances. He trained under Six Nations elder Art Johnson, learning the ceremonial songs and dances of the longhouse tradition from the time he was a youth – making the memorial dance competition truly an homage to his life’s work.
After the Grand River Champion of Champions decided to no longer hold Smoke Dance compeititions during the Pow Wow, Plank Road One Stop Owner Derek Sandy decided he would hold the annual smoke dance compeition at his business property on Six Nations land.
Sandy previously told the Two Row Times, “Lyle was a very good friend of mine and we all decided to name the Smoke Dance competition in honor of him. He was a really great smoke dancer and singer.”
Haudenosaunee scholars seem to agree that the modern iteration of the smoke dance is a fairly recent phenomenon. Ancient War dances were originally a men’s dance but during exhibitions these songs were sped up to see if the competitors could keep pace. Traditionally it is said that men are to dance with a measure of arrogance or pride and women with a more graceful style. The slower, older war dance beat will be used at certain times in men’s competition and some dancers will tell a story through their movements.
This year the Lyle Anderson Memorial Smoke Dance competition, presented by Plank Road One Stop, on Old Plank Road (off of Highway #6) just outside of Caledonia will be on Sunday July 26th. Dancer registration begins at 5pm and competition starts at 6pm. Age categories include: Tiny Tots (5 & under), Kids (6-12), Teens (13-17), Adults (18-49) and Golden Age (50+)
For more information contact Derek Sandy at 226-388-0221 or Cam Hill at 519-754-6181.