|A dancing coyote and other animals taught children life lessons such as the importance of patience
Theatre -- from Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence -- presented "Songs of Life" at the Andrew
J. and Georgia Neese Gray Theatre at Washburn University. The three performances drew about 600 people.
of Life" is a collection of traditional American Indian stories presented through storytelling, dancing and
inter-tribal music. The stories focused on the Coyote.
Coyote is revered because he's a great comic teacher," said Pat Melody, director of the Thunderbird Theatre.
"We've learned best through laughter. He teaches what should be done by doing the wrong things."
The show was
sponsored by Performing Arts for Children, a not-for-profit organization in its 30th season that gives children
ages 3 to 11 the opportunity to see professional theater for an affordable price.
goal is to give the children a positive, creative outlet," said Angela Carter, president of Performing Arts
for Children. "We hope to get them into the arts before they get into things that aren't as rewarding."
has been taking her 9-year-old twin daughters, Elizabeth and Ashley, to Performing Arts for Children for two years.
it's really nice entertainment for the children," she said. "There's some education, some entertainment
and a lot of different cultures."
For the members
of the Thunderbird Theatre, acting allows them to share their culture.
working with the children," said sophomore Dustina Abrahamson. "It opens their eyes to a different world,
a different culture."
formation in 1974, Thunderbird Theatre has been telling and acting out stories that have been passed down for generations.
Group members don't memorize the stories from a script -- tribes have kept the stories alive through oral tradition.
While the point of the stories stay the same, they are tailored to the age of the audience and the time allotted
for the performance.
said they enjoyed the presentation.
10, said she liked the inter-tribal music.
different from other music," she said.
and Commerce Bank & Trust sponsored "Songs of Life." Funding for Performing Arts for Children is
from the Kansas Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts and sponsored in part by Washburn University.