sat in amazement at the bird dance, intently watched the sunflower
dance and gazed in wonder at the poses in the warrior dance.
in area schools enjoyed workshops Wednesday and Thursday with Dancing
Earth, an indigenous contemporary dance group based in Santa Fe,
N.M., that is currently on tour.
energy of Dancing Earth evokes a primal force that is said to illuminate
cultural and spiritual relevance through their articulate movements
choreographed by creator Rulan Tangen.
some, this may be the first time they've ever met a Native American,"
Tangen said. "That might seem like a stretch, but 70 percent of
our museum-goers believe that Native Americans are extinct."
said the group is a vibrant mix of professional dancers who have
a positive outlook for native people.
dance workshop is a critical component for American Indian students,
Jefferson Elementary Principal Lona Carter-Scanlon said.
I put people like you in front of them, it increases their sense
of pride," she said to the dancers.
Johnson began dancing about 25 years ago and has been with a variety
of dance companies.
is the only contemporary indigenous dance company in the country,"
Johnson, 39, said. "There is no other of the same genre."
enjoys the stories and believes they are expressed through the music
takes belief systems and puts them on stage there is an emotional
content that's stirring," Johnson said. "That's what draws me and
moves me as a dancer. I get bored easily, so I appreciate when dancing
of the dancing is exciting, but there are times of soft stillness.
first name translated from Mayan means "sky flower," and as an artist
that shape is incorporated in her dances. The dancers have shapes
they identify with, such as small birds, rivers or clouds. They
demonstrated their shapes with their bodies to the students.
limbering their faces, hips, arms and legs, the students learned
dances and moved in sync with drums, clapping and stomping.
Rives, 9, was one of the fourth-graders at Jefferson Elementary
who enjoyed the one-hour workshop.
learned a little about self-awareness and movement. He was enthusiastic,
and when he finally sat down, sweat gleamed on his brow.
think the dances are very exciting," Rives said. "There is so much
movement and expression."
school visits are part of the Myrna Loy's mission to bring art to
the schools. The arts are vital when it comes to students' learning,
Beverly Fox with the Myrna Loy said.
gets in their bodies and it stays there," Fox said.
Tompkins said she's never seen the style of dancing that the group
was amazing," she said.
group also showed a portion of its dance about Wounded Knee. Tangen
talked with the group about being aware of history even when it's
unpleasant. During a regular performance, a large screen would be
set up in the background, showing images of pollution, destruction,
need to look at what's happening to the whole Earth with our actions,"
Tangen told the students.
often come to her in her dreams, Tangen said. They are stories she's
heard from her past and some in the present.
come from a place that's about this world, but not in this world,"
she told the students.