Innovation in dance, combining styles and dynamic duos spells formula for success for Hopes Home fundraiser Swinging with the Stars
- By Memory McLeod | December 02, 2022
For choreographer and professional dancer Shana Pasapa, dance has always been a saving grace. A lifelong passion has now become a way to raise funds for a good cause she believes in.
“I’ve always practiced some form of physical activity but dance has always been the one thing that brought me back from long breaks, when I wanted to get back to training. It’s something I love and to fundraise through dance just makes for a good, fun evening,” Pasapa said.
This year is her second time lending her name and talent to the “Swinging with the Stars” annual fundraiser for Hope’s Home. Last year, she and partner Chief Cadmus Delorme of Cowessess First Nation wowed the crowd with a combination of hoop dance and Jiu Jitsu that brought a fresh dynamic to the annual event.
“Cadmus has a background in pow wow, so he already had that one up. So we mixed in his chicken dancing. I don’t feel like it’s forced, you know when you put the pow wow music on, it makes you want to dance anyway.”
This year she paired her skills with the energy and vibe of her partner, Z99 radio host Cassity.
“I felt like we just clicked instantly. Her energy is so much fun. When it came to her dancing, she was very competitive where she wanted to get it right. So I challenged her and was able to throw in some more difficult moves that would be for a more advanced hoop dancer and she nailed them,” Pasapa said.
This time around the pair incorporated Indigenous Hoop dancing with Jiu Jitsui, in which Pasapa has a purple belt, and another surprising element.
“When we first started putting it together, Cassity mentioned she had done some highland dancing so we incorporated a few of those moves too. Jiu Jitsu has a lot of ground movements, which develops your ability to move on the ground gracefully so I was able to incorporate that and in the end we had a cool routine that looked more complicated than it was,” she explained.
The duo took home the judges choice award and were able to raise just over $5,000 of the total of over $170,000 raised for the charity that operates homes and daycares for special needs children.
Combining her talents and with a flair for innovation is Pasapa’s signature. The entrepreneur has used her gifts for the benefit of the community in other ways. Besides her clothing design company Pasapa Designs, she operates a self defense company called POW Power Our Women with a desire to empower women to take charge of their own safety and security.
“My mom had asked me to take a self-defense class as a younger person. I’ve been followed, yelled at. Being a smaller person I learned what I could do to protect myself.”
Pasapa is not one to shy away from a challenge and, when asked to participate again this year, she agreed but this time as a mother with a two-month old baby in tow.
“At first i felt like ‘why did i sign up for this,’ my back hurt the most, but as i started dancing it slowly went away. She was four months by the time we took the stage and it felt good to have come that far in such a short time.”