DURANGO, Colo. – The Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College welcomes the nation’s premier indigenous contemporary dance collective Dancing Earth, performing its new, original work, “Of Bodies of Elements,” Friday, Nov. 11, 2011, 7 p.m.
The company will also host two Master Classes/Community Outreach programs on Tuesday, Nov. 8 (at the Concert Hall) and Thursday, Nov. 10 (at Skyhawk Hall). Both are set for 7:30 p.m. and open to the public.
Dancing Earth is said to stand distinctively in the eco-system of American dance. Director/Choreographer Rulan Tangen, who brings 25 years of international professional experience in powwow, ballet, modern dance, circus arts, film, theater and education, cultivates an entirely indigenous creative team of dancers, composers, costumers, filmmakers, visual artists and stage crew.
Jennifer Noyer, Albuquerque Journal, described Dancing Earth as "…beautifully trained dancers unified in Tangen’s clean style, and capable of subtle and deeply moving expression."
The company has been recognized as “One of the Top 25 to Watch” by Dance Magazine for its distinctive performance rituals, which bring a powerful physicality rooted in inter-tribal cultural philosophies and aesthetics.
Dancing Earth is the first indigenous contemporary dance ensemble to be awarded the prestigious National Dance Project grant to support the development of “Of Bodies of Elements.” The cardinal themes of “Of Bodies of Elements” were integrated into a semester course project led by Tangen at Stanford University, as a creative response to “Race and Environment” hosted by the Institute for Diversity in the Arts. In 2010, Dancing Earth was recognized with an award for Expressive Arts from the National Museum of the American Indian.
Wrote Anthony Hassett for Santa Fe’s THE magazine, following a recent performance of “Of Bodies of Elements” at the James A. Little Theatre, “Divided into two acts, it allows the principles of order and disorder to find a kind of grace in one another, and it provides a portrait of a world that can contain you and still let you be, through dance.”
While in Durango, members of Dancing Earth, in addition to the aforementioned Master Classes, will participate in a number of outreach activities including an elementary school presentation at the Southern Ute Cultural Center, and guest instruction at a FLC theatre production class and a Hip Hop dance class. Tangen and dancer Eagle Young, a Fort Lewis College graduate, will also speak about the company and their work at the FLC Native American Center.
Since 2004, Dancing Earth has performed throughout the world, including Roots Remix at Harbourfront Centre, Toronto; Centro Cultural de Recoleto, Argentina; Hemispheric Encuentro of Performance and Politics, Brazil; Heard Museum, Arizona; Santa Fe Dance Festival, New Mexico; Native Wellness Institute Regional Conferences; Woodlands Cultural Centre, Canada; Dance Now NYC, St. John’s Cathedral, New York City; National Performance Network Showcase, Iowa; and Idyllwild Arts, California.
In its history, the company has included more than 30 performance artists representing the First Nations of Kanai Blackfoot; San Juan Tewa, Jemez Towa, and Laguna Keresan Pueblos; Akimel O’odham Pima/Maricopa; Purepecha; Seneca/Cayuga; Seminole/Pawnee; Yaqui; Apache; Juaneno; Cambiva; Coushatta; Chamorro; Metis; Cherokee; Fulani; Shoshone; Aotearoa; Dene; Papanga; Pomo; Meherrin; Hawaii; Michica; Tarahuamara; Jenizaro; Anishnabe; and Naragansett.
Dancing Earth’s tour is funded in part by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and additional funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Community Connections Fund of the MetLife Foundation, and the Boeing Company Charitable Trust.
View a promotional clip of Dancing Earth’s “Of Bodies of Elements” at http://www.dancingearth.org/media.html.
Tickets for Dancing Earth ($29/$39) are available online at www.durangoconcerts.com or by calling 970.247.7657, or at the Ticket Office in Downtown Durango at 7th St. and Main Ave. All sales final.
Showtime is 7 p.m., with doors to the Concert Hall and concessions, serving beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages and snacks, opening at 6 p.m.
The Community Concert Hall is located in the arts complex of Fort Lewis College. It operates through a partnership with the college, a state-supported, independent institution of higher education, and with financial and in-kind contributions from generous members of the community.