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Culture Exchange Highlight

Dancing company shares Native perspective
Rulan Tangen loves ballet and modern dance. But she also loves her Native heritage. So she decided to combine her two passions to create a dance company that blends indigenous traditions with modern dance forms.

The company is called Dancing Earth. It is based in Santa Fe, NM. Tangen is a member of the Métis Nation in Canada and has dancers come from the Ho-Chunk Nation, the Cree Nation, the Hopi Tribe, and many other Native American communities across the U.S. Some dancers are even from countries in West Africa and the South Pacific.

Dancing Earth shares a Native perspective through dance and community engagement. One way the dance company achieves this is with a partnership with the Cuicacalli School of Dance in San Francisco, CA. The school offers a year-round training program for young dancers. With cross-cultural dance classes, Cuicacalli and Dancing Earth help youth in San Francisco learn to express themselves through traditional and modern dance.

In addition to this partnership, Dancing Earth also puts on several performances throughout the year. Most recently, the company premiered “Walking at the Edge of Water” in Santa Fe. This performance tells a story about the creation, destruction, and renewal of water. Tangen was first inspired to share this message when she met with a group of Lakota female elders. As they explained the sacredness of water, Tangen knew she could tell this story through dance. The first show was September 28 at the Lensic Theater in Santa Fe.

Read more about Dancing Earth and watch videos of their performances by visiting www.DancingEarth.org.

To learn more about the Cuicacalli School of Dance, visit www.cuicacalliescueladedanza.org/.

Dancer
Dancing Earth blends modern
dance forms with Native traditions.
Photo Credit: Paulo T. Photography

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