BWW Reviews: Thunderbird American Indian Dancers' Annual Dance Concert Enthralls Audience
Pageantry, Storytelling, Native American dance and music are just some of the elements that are captivating audiences at the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers' Annual Dance Concert and POW-WOW. It is now being performed through February 9th at the Theater for the New City at 155 First Avenue in New York City.
The Thunderbird American Indian Dancers are the oldest resident New York City American Indian dance company, founded in 1963. The troupe has various tribal backgrounds and has performed worldwide.
We attended a matinee performance that had many families and young children in attendance. The program was perfect for young and old alike. Children received a real close-up experience as they were permitted to sit around the perimeters of the staging floor.
The concert was narrated by Louis Mofsie who provided important background and history to each of the performance's segment. Mofsie's comprehensive discussion provided a deeper view of the recital and was a real educational opportunity for the capacity crowd. The troupe of dancers and the Henyna Second Sons Singers are well invested in their art and dedicated to the authenticity of Native American tradition.
The colorful costuming treated audiences to a rich sense of tradition. The lively, yet graceful stepping patterns of themed dances engendered a real appreciation for customary Native American rituals.
Traditional dances form the Iroquois and Native People of the Southwest and Great Plains regions were highlights of the show. The twelve acts included the Iroquois Stomp Dance, Jingle Dress and Grass Dances, and Deer Dance. A special, more recent tradition was realized in the women's Shawl Dance made popular after World War II. There was a unique audience participation Contest dance and a thrilling solo performance of the Hoop Dance.
The troupe's appearances benefit college Scholarship funds for Native American Students. The Thunderbird American Dancers Scholarship receives sole support from events like the concert and has bestowed over 350 scholarships to date.
Area audiences will be fascinated by the opportunity to view Native American dance at its finest.
For ticketing information, visit, http://www.theaterforthenewcity.net/thunder.htm. Matinees are kids' days, when children under twelve accompanied by a ticket-bearing adult are admitted for $1.00 (adults $10). At the conclusion of these matinees, young audience members are welcome to the stage to be photographed with the dancers. For an extensive history of the Thunderbird troupe, visit: http://www.jsnyc.com/season/pow-wow.htm.