dance Archive

  • In the sacred Tibetan Skeleton dance two Dharmapalas (Protectors of Truth) appear, played by Monks, deities whose role is to protect the cemetery grounds. Their presence also reminds the audience of the ephemeral nature of this world and of their own mortality. The cult of ?the Se?cond Buddha?, Padmasambhava, initiated the practice through the rich mythological literature.

    Tibetan Skeleton Dance: Cemetery Protectors of Truth

    In the sacred Tibetan Skeleton dance two Dharmapalas (Protectors of Truth) appear, played by Monks, deities whose role is to protect the cemetery grounds. Their presence also reminds the audience of the ephemeral nature of this world and of their own mortality. The cult of ?the Se?cond Buddha?, Padmasambhava, initiated the practice through the rich mythological literature.

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  • Film and music of shimmering yet jarring beauty play together on a South Seas beach in "Legong: Dance of the Virgins." It's a rarely screened 1935 silent movie, shot entirely in Bali with a Balinese cast, mixed with a new score by Club Foot Orchestra and Gamelan Sekar Jaya. Presented in a crude but rich two-strip early Technicolor process, one of the last silent films made by Hollywood, it depicts Bali as Westerners idealized it at the time.

    Legong Film: Balinese Dream Dance of Nymphs in Heaven

    Film and music of shimmering yet jarring beauty play together on a South Seas beach in "Legong: Dance of the Virgins." It's a rarely screened 1935 silent movie, shot entirely in Bali with a Balinese cast, mixed with a new score by Club Foot Orchestra and Gamelan Sekar Jaya. Presented in a crude but rich two-strip early Technicolor process, one of the last silent films made by Hollywood, it depicts Bali as Westerners idealized it at the time.

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  • Idle No More has awakened indigenous voices from all over North America, blockading highways and border crossings, flash-mobbing in shopping malls, facing arrest and imprisonment. At issue are sovereignty and treaty rights, dancing and demonstrating for Mother Earth: for the protection of the air, the water, and the land, motivating native peoples out of their idleness and into the streets.

    Idle No More: Round Dance for Mother Earth

    Idle No More has awakened indigenous voices from all over North America, blockading highways and border crossings, flash-mobbing in shopping malls, facing arrest and imprisonment. At issue are sovereignty and treaty rights, dancing and demonstrating for Mother Earth: for the protection of the air, the water, and the land, motivating native peoples out of their idleness and into the streets.

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  • The Sacred Land Film Project captured a revival of a canoe ceremony with feasting, dancing and carving, honoring their sacred Ramu River. The region is part of the third largest intact rainforest ecosystem left on earth, where sustainable agriculture and forestry practices have allowed societies to thrive for thousands of years, now threatened by multinational logging interests and corrupt governmental entities.

    Papua New Guinea: Rainforest World of Sustainable River Guardians

    The Sacred Land Film Project captured a revival of a canoe ceremony with feasting, dancing and carving, honoring their sacred Ramu River. The region is part of the third largest intact rainforest ecosystem left on earth, where sustainable agriculture and forestry practices have allowed societies to thrive for thousands of years, now threatened by multinational logging interests and corrupt governmental entities.

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  • Suddenly, mice fill the room and the Christmas tree grows to dizzying heights. The Nutcracker also grows to life-size. Marie finds herself in the midst of a battle between an army of Gingerbread man soldiers and the mice, led by the fierce Mouse King. The mice begin to eat the gingerbread soldiers.

    The Nutcracker Prince Battles the King of Mice at Christmas

    Suddenly, mice fill the room and the Christmas tree grows to dizzying heights. The Nutcracker also grows to life-size. Marie finds herself in the midst of a battle between an army of Gingerbread man soldiers and the mice, led by the fierce Mouse King. The mice begin to eat the gingerbread soldiers.

    Continue Reading...

  • In the pre-Hispanic era, skulls were kept as trophies and displayed during the rituals to symbolize death and rebirth. These ancestors passed down the knowledge that souls exist after death, resting in Mictlan, the land of the dead, not for judgment or resurrection, but for the day each year when they could return home to visit their loved ones.

    Day of the Dead: Aztec Dance Honoring the Soul’s Rest

    In the pre-Hispanic era, skulls were kept as trophies and displayed during the rituals to symbolize death and rebirth. These ancestors passed down the knowledge that souls exist after death, resting in Mictlan, the land of the dead, not for judgment or resurrection, but for the day each year when they could return home to visit their loved ones.

    Continue Reading...

  • Groups of Kumeyaay People live in the isolated canyons of the Tijuana River watershed, high in the Baja California peninsula. They harvest acorns and pine nuts, hunt rattlesnake and small animals, collect grasses to weave baskets. They allow a glimpse of what life in Southern California before the Spanish arrived was like.

    Kumeyaay People: Traditions Survive in Baja California

    Groups of Kumeyaay People live in the isolated canyons of the Tijuana River watershed, high in the Baja California peninsula. They harvest acorns and pine nuts, hunt rattlesnake and small animals, collect grasses to weave baskets. They allow a glimpse of what life in Southern California before the Spanish arrived was like.

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  • In Siberia, shamans combine a distinctive imagery of reindeer and of bird-flight. Their costumes sometimes include imitation reindeer antlers, occasionally tipped with wings or feathers, placed on the headdress. Like the participants in the Eveny (Evenki) midsummer ritual, shamans may ride to the sky on a bird or a reindeer.

    Riding the Sky with Reindeer Shamans of Siberia

    In Siberia, shamans combine a distinctive imagery of reindeer and of bird-flight. Their costumes sometimes include imitation reindeer antlers, occasionally tipped with wings or feathers, placed on the headdress. Like the participants in the Eveny (Evenki) midsummer ritual, shamans may ride to the sky on a bird or a reindeer.

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  • The masked dance ritual called Wanaragua, takes place as part of the New Year's celebration among the Garífuna villages on the Caribbean Coast of Central America.

    Caribbean Garífuna: Masked Warriors Dance into the New Year

    The masked dance ritual called Wanaragua, takes place as part of the New Year's celebration among the Garífuna villages on the Caribbean Coast of Central America.

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  • The Soyal Ceremony begins on the shortest day of the year, and symbolizes the second phase of Creation at the Dawn of Life. Its prayers and rituals implement a plan of life for the coming year, ceremonially turning back the sun toward its summer path.

    Soyal Ceremony: Hopi Kachinas Dance at Winter Solstice

    The Soyal Ceremony begins on the shortest day of the year, and symbolizes the second phase of Creation at the Dawn of Life. Its prayers and rituals implement a plan of life for the coming year, ceremonially turning back the sun toward its summer path.

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  • Short poems, anecdotes, mocking or reverent tributes, called calaveras or “skulls,” are given to celebrate public or private figures.  In Los Angeles, for the last seven years Tropico de Nopal Gallery has taken the custom into the realm of performance art-fashion show-walking altar display.

    Day of the Dead Ofrendas: Calavera Fashion Show and Walking Altars

    Short poems, anecdotes, mocking or reverent tributes, called calaveras or “skulls,” are given to celebrate public or private figures. In Los Angeles, for the last seven years Tropico de Nopal Gallery has taken the custom into the realm of performance art-fashion show-walking altar display.

    Continue Reading...