December 08, 2007

Ojibwa teens put on a show

For youth on Ojibwa reserve, show much more than a performanceThe music of Timbaland is blasting inside the gym of the brand new school on this Ojibwa reserve of just under 400 people. About 20 teens in socks or running shoes are going through the hip-hop routine they've been diligently practising for the last few weeks. They turn and bend and break to the floor. They remember to smile as they throw out a hip or thrust a leg. These kids are impressive; they're moving in unison for the most part and everyone knows all the moves.

In May, they will be doing this routine, and others yet to be created, on the stage of the Jane Mallett Theatre in the St. Lawrence Centre in Toronto, when a show that is much more than a performance comes to town. It's called Outside Looking In.
What it's all about:The point of Outside Looking In is not just to entertain, but to enlighten. "There are so many misunderstandings between first nations people and Canadians," says Smith. "They don't know enough about each other. I wanted the show to be educational in some sort of way. I want people leaving to feel their lives have changed a little bit because of seeing the show."

Smith's plans for the multi-media production that will be performed May 21 in the St. Lawrence Centre are ambitious. The students will dance their hip hop numbers while other segments of the show will feature professional dancers. Outside Looking In is envisioned as a unique show, at once a way of displaying the talents of the Lac La Croix youth and strengthening their own sense of identity.

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