Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University
Dazzling ceremonial regalia gains your attention but it's the sincerity of the narration with the dancing that carries you into what's really extraordinary. Dancing, drumming and singing are part of Lakota daily life. Sharing on a stage places the tradition of honoring Wakan Tanka, the Great Spirit, on a different level, yet spirituality transcends performance. Each item of clothing and hand held object extends meaning and each gesture mimes the story. Opening with a retelling of the Lakota Creation Myth, the dancers cleanse the space with the smoke of sage and offer a prayer of thanksgiving for what has been given during the creation of the world and a prayer to use each new day wisely. Lakota are people of the Morning Star, the emergence of light, and like all other American Tribes they honor the four directions, the sky and mother earth, made clear by movement close to the ground. Women are honored as the bringers of peace and harmony. Though men are honored as providers of food through hunting, it is the buffalo that are honored as the means of survival. Every part of the buffalo was utilized for food, clothing, shelter, health, spirituality, celebration. Traditional dances relate to healing, prayer, and friendship in the sacred circle. The wild west shows started a trend for performance, such as the women's shawl dance and men heightening the vigor of hunting dances. The dance theater was founded on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota in 1978 and has been touring since.