Friday, November 6, 2009

Big Night

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So what do you do on Halloween night when temperatures are hovering around zero and you live hundreds of miles off the road system?

You make your own fun. That's what you do!

Puuqtaluk is an annual Halloween event that involves costumed dancers and a full night of silliness and laughter. For a more detailed explanation, click here.

It's difficult to appreciate the craziness of Puuqtaluk unless you experience it for yourself. The costumes can be a bit...er...off-putting if viewed out of context.

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If you're not a local, it's hard to imagine just what might be lurking behind the gruesome grins.

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The whole idea is to remain anonymous.

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See what I mean?

But Atqasuk residents know that it's all in fun. No one relishes frightening anyone. The costumes are meant to conceal and distract from the dancer's identity and sometimes they actually pull it off.

Take this guy, for instance.

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You'd never know it by looking at him, but there is a stand-up comic buried beneath all that ugly. (A very creative dancer as well). This year he won first place in his age group and then went on to compete against all age groups, including adults, to win the grand prize!

Here he is after winning for the second time that night. Awesome!

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So here's the drill...

#1...a space is cleared for dancing...dancers on one side and the audience on the other.

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#2...loud music is played in two-three minute segments allowing participants to dance individually as well as alongside competitors.

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#3...judges judge.

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#4...spectators spectate.

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#5...the winner reveals his/her identity and collects a prize.

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#6...everyone repeatedly watches videos of students and friends dancing their crazy dances (or am I the only one that does that?).

5 comments:

Jay said...

Your blog is always wonderful. I love the description and the photos of the Halloween thing--Keep up the great blogging.

Jay (in Barrow)

Floridacracker said...

Thanks! That was really neat and I never would have known of this tradition!

Florida Beach Basics said...

Now that's what I call a cool Halloween - what fun!

marge

Dog Hair in my Coffee said...

What fun! I love how people can make their own fun when there aren't things like movie theaters, restaurants, bowling alleys, etc. to just run off to. This kind of fun is so much more valuable to me. I also loved the video, bc I love feeling like I'm right there, watching it. I bet it was nice to laugh as much as I'm sure you did! Laughing is good for the soul.

Coffeedog

Kimberlee said...

Jay...
Thank you so much! I'm so glad you're enjoying the photos and updates of Atqasuk's goings on.


FC...
It's really a cool thing. I (personally) believe it's a combination of Halloween and a rather ancient traditional game played by Inuit where contestants try to make their audience laugh. Interesting, huh?


Marge...
I have to say, Puuqtaluk is the highlight of most kids' year around here. They think about it months in advance and talk about it for YEARS afterward. It's great. :)

Coffeedog...
Yes, it's definitely good to laugh. And it's fun to cheer for those who are really stepping outside of their comfort zone. I've competed twice and I can attest to how scary it is having to DANCE in front of a crowd. Being masked helps, but it's still intimidating. Getting applause and cheers when the mask comes off makes it worth it. :)