Canada History Week 2022 Learning Tool

Canada History Week 2022 Learning Tool SECTION 4 – STAGE AND SCREEN Performances and performing arts have a rich history in Canada, stretching back to long before the arrival of Europeans. As in many parts of the world, these performances and performance styles were often methods of preserving and celebrating a group’s history and culture. They could also be used to cement social relationships and reflect on the world around them. Many Indigenous groups shared their myths, histories, and knowledge through performances, from storytelling to singing, in styles collectively referred to as Oral Traditions (see more in the boxed text). The first recorded European theatre performances in North America date to early colonial times. Other styles of performing arts have long timelines and have built on that history to flourish today. Cirque du Soleil has followed a circus tradition in Canada tracing back to 1797. Other companies and festivals such as the National Ballet of Canada, the Canadian Opera Company, the Stratford Festival, and Just for Laughs have rich histories boasting top performances and performers and promoting Canadian artists. The first public screening of a film in Canada took place in Montreal in 1896, followed by Canada’s first domestic films in 1897. Since then, the film and television scene has boomed, with hotspots across the country. The performance art scene is a vibrant industry in Canada, supported by institutions like the CBC, Radio-Canada, and the Canada Council for the Arts. Among Indigenous peoples in Canada, Oral Traditions refer to a means of gathering, preserving, and sharing stories, myths, traditional knowledge, and history. Oral Traditions have been a vital method of passing down stories, histories, spiritual lessons or teachings, songs, poems, prayers, and ways of survival for thousands of years. For centuries, erroneous Western beliefs that the written word is more trustworthy than oral histories have threatened and damaged traditional ways of passing down knowledge. Today, Indigenous communities continue to reclaim oral histories and traditions that have been suppressed or threatened by colonization. Other communities, including Black Canadians, have embraced the Oral Tradition to save and pass down community chronicles and genealogies, as well as to communicate ideas in musical form. 13. Canadian ballet dancers in 1946 (National Film Board of Canada/Photothèque/Library and Archives Canada). Cirque du Soleil performs Kooza (Michael Bush/