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Nathan Pilatzke brings Canadian Ottawa Valley step dancing to Anam

Nathan Pilatzke brings Canadian Ottawa Valley step dancing to Anam

There are many different types of step dance and they differ in timing, accents and tempos. Canadian step dancing include: jigs, reels, clogs, strathspeys, waltz-clogs, hornpipes, two-steps, polka and it is unique in its own right.

This powerful and energetic style of dance comes from the Ottawa Valley, a large area North of Ottawa and a small area across the river on the Quebec side.  It has Scottish and Irish roots and interestingly, American Tap dance also influenced this style. The Ottawa Valley style is unique through its constant aggressiveness of the dance and the steps are generally danced high off the floor in comparison to more grounded forms of dance. Nathan is nicknamed ‘crazy legs’ not surprising considering dancers of this style are noted as having legs that look rubber like when performing. Arms are a defining feature of this style of dance. They are placed out from the body and portray the natural flow of the movement of the dancer similar to that of the western Irish dance style of Sean nós. Dancers generally perform on a hardwood floor and wear typical leather shoes made for jazz that possess a leather sole.

The instrumentation for the music associated with this style of dance is largely influenced by Irish and Scottish culture. Fiddle, accordion, mouth organ and the little ‘ews’ harp collectively form the musical pillars of this dance genre. 

In the Ottawa Valley people come together to enjoy and partake in various actions associated with this style of dance. This can be through listening to the music, coming together socially and obviously partaking in the practice of dancing this style. What originally began as a family oriented tradition passed from one generation to the next has now developed into a widely popular and celebrated activity and a staple of Ottawa Valley culture.

We are excited to welcome this established form of dance to the mix of Anam and look forward to Nathan showcasing his own take on this energetic dance style. 

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