“The grandeur of the native dress, the power, grace, and skill of the performers was compelling. And the beautiful message about the importance of family, friends, and the need to embrace all humanity in this day captivated the audience through the performance.” Gwen Massey, Dallas-Fort Worth concert presenter
A blur of movement, visionary hoop dancing, powerful drums, dazzling fancy dancing, elegant traditional dancing, soaring powwow vocals, ancient flute songs, cultural insight, Northern Plains sign language, authentic stories of the First Nations The Native Dance Ensemble presents a performance to remember.
The Native Dance Ensemble has been performing since 2001. Recent appearances at the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, a follow-up performance at NMAI in New York City, the World Culture Open at the Lincoln Center (sponsored in part by the United Nations), and a residency at the University of Arizona, have all met with high acclaim.
In addition to public concerts, the ensemble actively conducts workshops, school residencies and family performances.
There is no other show like it. Representing the Plains nations of Lakota, Anishinabe, and Comanche, the Southeastern tribe Choctaw, and the Woodlands Nations of Ojibwe and Oneida, this one-of-a-kind ensemble of American Indian champions and award winners offers a rich variety of American Indian traditions and aesthetics in dance, instrumentals, song, storytelling, sign language and audience interaction. Also available are regionally specific programs with local artists working with the Ensemble to offer a wider variety of tribal representation.
An evening performance begins with freestyle dancing by Ensemble members, with each taking a solo followed by indigenous sign language, narrative and song, including an honor song to the hosts. Then the spotlight turns to dances honoring the Eagle and the Buffalo including related songs and stories, flute solos and duets, culminating in a finale of breathtaking Hoop dancing and champion fancy dancing. A highlight of any Native Dance Ensemble concert or workshop is when the audience is invited to participate in hoop dancing, social dancing, songs and sign language.
The Drum is the Thunder, the Flute is the Wind This concert performance by Native Dance Ensemble represents the Retum of the Thunders. Each instrument represents a part of nature: the Drum is the Thunder, the Rattle is the Rain, the Flute is the Wind, the Voice is the Lightning. In the physical world the rains are limited in their dominion of the Earth to only half the year. But with music, we celebrate this spirit always. The return of the "Thunders" revitalizes the Spirit within the People, as Spring revitalizes the spirit within each living thing.
The Spirit Within This program offers insight into the spirit connection between the People with our brother animals as well as the spirit of the elemental forces of our environment. Experience the high-energy Fancy Dance, the Eagle Dance, contemplative flute pieces, humorous stories on everyday tribal life, and multimedia pieces of historical and soulful anthologies from Standing Rock Reservation. The performance concludes with the world-renowned Hoop Dance, honoring the elders of the Elk Dreamer Society.