Thunderbird American Indian Dancers will hold their 30th annual Dance Concert and Pow Wow at Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue, from February 4 to 13. The troupe's appearances benefit college funds for needy Native American students. The troupe's Pow-Wows have been presented annually as a two-week event by TNC since 1976, with the entire box-office donated to these funds.
There will be dances, stories and traditional music from the Iroquois and Native Peoples of the Northwest Coast, the Southwest, the Plains, and the Arctic regions. Between 25 and 30 dancers will assemble for the event. Highlights of this year's celebration will include a Hoop Dance performed by Raymond Two Feathers (Cherokee) and "Dancing Wolf" Michael Taylor (Choctaw). For the third time, the Pow Wow will include a dance from the Inuit people of Alaska, called The Caribou Dance. Highlights will also include a Butterfly Dance (a Hopi custom which gives thanks for the beauty of nature), a Grass Dance and Jingle Dress Dance (from the Northern Plains people) and a Shawl Dance (from the Oklahoma tribes). Featured performers will also include the Heyna Second Son Singers (various tribes) and Mitoka Eagle (Santo Domingo/Pueblo). There will be a new modern dance work put to modern American music (flute music and drumming) by Tom Pearson (Creek/Cherokee).
A Pow-Wow is more than just a spectator event: it is a joyous reunion for native peoples nationwide and an opportunity for the non-Indian community to voyage into the philosophy and beauty of Native culture. Traditionally a gathering and sharing of events, Pow-Wows have come to include spectacular dance competitions, exhibitions, and enjoyment of traditional foods. Pageantry is an important component of the event, and all participants are elaborately dressed. Most dances are performed in the traditional Circle, which represents a unity of peoples. There is a wealth of cultural information encoded in the movements of each dance. More than ten distinct tribes will be represented in the performers appearing. In the final section of the program, the audience is invited to join in the Round Dance, a friendship dance.
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