Ottawa Valley (Canada) Stepdance Class with April Verch
BRIMS and The Prism Coffeehouse are co-presenting a stepdance workshop with April Verch on Saturday, February 4th.
Tickets are $20 for the Saturday workshop.
The April Verch Band will also be performing a concert on Friday, February 3rd, 7:00 p.m. at Cville Coffee presented by the Prism Coffeehouse music series http://prismcoffeehouse.org
Ottawa Valley, Canada, native; fiddler, singer, and stepdancer April Verch knows how relevant an old tune can be. She was raised surrounded by living, breathing roots music—her father’s country band rehearsing; the lively music at church and at community dances; the tunes she rocked out to win fiddle competitions. She thought every little girl learned to stepdance at the age of three and fiddle at the age of six. She knew nothing else and decided early on that she wanted to be a professional musician.
At the heart of her performances lie Verch’s delicate voice, energetic footwork, and stunning playing. Sometimes she sings, steps and fiddles all at once, with apparent ease and precision. Verch is – as they say – a triple threat in performance, her live show a beautiful companion to her music: versatile, robust, and masterfully executed.
ABOUT OTTAWA VALLEY STEPDANCE
Irish immigration shaped the history of communities throughout the Ottawa Valley including Carp, Renfrew, Fitzroy Harbor, Shawville and Bristol. The Ottawa Valley Irish culture became extremely distinctive. As contact with Ireland decreased, it merged with French Canadian and other settler cultures. This cultural milieu created various distinct linguistic dialects that can only be found in the Ottawa Valley. It also led to a distinctive Ottawa Valley style of step-dancing, fiddling and song.
Ottawa Valley step dance has developed from its roots in Irish and Scottish dance into a percussive and dynamic style. Step dancing is considered a form of music much like playing the piano or fiddle. Dancing on most occasions replaces other forms of percussion and adds value because of its high energy and visual impact. In contrast to Cape Breton step dancers, who keep their feet close to the floor and their arms straight to their sides, Ottawa Valley dancers step high, and incorporate arm movements in their choreography. Valley step-dancing is fast, energetic and fluid, requiring great coordination of legs, feet.