Dancing in secret

Native America’s Cultural Survival – Dancing a mixture of the ceremonial and social was forbidden for years. Today, even US soldiers in Iraq find a clue to the healing power – and the fun – of Pow-wow.

It is a balmy October afternoon in south Florida, and I am driving toward the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation to meet members of Native Nations Dance Theatre. I can hardly believe this country road is a mere 80 miles west of the ugly billboard-burdened landscape of Ft. Lauderdale. The air is fresh. I’ve seen more than a dozen species of birds, and marsh grass punctuated with small copses of trees extends in all directions. Native dance has a long performance history. William F.

Cody toured his mélange of history and schmaltz, “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West,” throughout North America for three decades and played successfully to crowds across Europe. More recently, choreographers like Ted Shawn (in the 1930s), Rosalie Jones, and Belinda James have created dances for Modern companies illustrating Indian cultural and ceremonial life. Now, Native groups such as the American Indian and Native Nations Dance Theatres, Yellowbird, and Le La La Dancers earn awards, perform for presidents, and tour the world educating child and adult audiences about what it means to be Indian.

Native dancing today is a mixture of the ceremonial and social, its purpose to gather ...

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Tanz Februar 2007
Rubrik: Report, Seite 4
von Colleen M. Payton

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