Shoshone-Bannock Jr./Sr. High School Dance Troupe performs at Lava Hot Springs Folk Festival on September 9.
By ROSELYNN YAZZIE
LAVA HOT SPRINGS — Sho-Ban Jr./Sr. High School Dance Troupe shared their culture through dance and song at the Lava Hot Springs Folk Festival on Saturday, September 9.
The group’s advisor, Kara Tsosie, emceed the event and explained to the crowd what each dance represents, its meaning, and the significance of the regalia. She encouraged audience participation and welcomed questions.
This was the first performance of the school year. Dancers included: Keylii Tsosie, Aliana Eschief, Logan Wahtomy, Hazebah Wahtomy, Kimora Pevo, Alex Graves Jr., Zoey Graves, Devin Pebeahsy and Jon Archuleta. Co-advisor, Alex Graves sat at the drum.
The group is a part of the Sho-Ban’s After School program and was formed last year by student, Keylii Tsosie.
Keylii Tsosie and Jon Archuleta lead in grand entry of dancers.
Sho-Ban Jr./Sr. High School Dance Troupe is open to all students. They encourage youth who have wanted to dance, that don’t have regalia, or has never danced before to join. They can assist them with getting regalia started. They also teach dance basics, sewing lessons, provide materials and transportation to and from events.
“I know that there’s a lot of kids out there that really want to dance but they don’t have the access or the parents, grandparents, aren’t really into the powwow scene or don’t really dance so they don’t know where to go. And so we encourage if you want to, to come and join us. We’ll be your powwow family and we’ll help you get and learn how to dance,” she said.
The dance troupe meets every Monday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., with plans to add another day for sewing their regalia. They perform at schools, nursing homes and events.
Jingle dress dancer Logan Wahtomy.
One of their goals is to raise money for a powwow and travel to attend an out of state powwow.
“So they can see how things are also ran different. And we know, within different tribes, there’s different things within our cultures that are different and it’s good to learn them and understand them,” explained Tsosie.
The advisors hope to see the troupe grow in numbers.
“I think the more the merrier. I think it’s going to be a fun experience for all the kids involved and they’ll make long lasting friendships and they’ll learn how to perform in front of small audiences other than powwow, you know,” she said. “I’ve seen them blossom throughout dancing and performing in our group. It’s great because they encourage each other.”
Students invite the crowd to take part in the owl dance.
Her next plan for the kids is to get them comfortable with speaking to the audience.
She said, “It’s also good for our dance troupe, to interact with people to learn how to explain their dances or when they ask them about their regalia. It’s good for them to know where it comes from.”
The Lava Hot Springs Folk Festival is an annual, free of charge event that provides youth in the community with musical education opportunities through raffle ticket sales.
Susan Thomas, owner of Dragonfly Gallery, explained the group’s performance was fitting for the purpose.
Sho-Ban Princess Kimora Pevo and Zoey Graves.
“It’s so more exciting, for me this year, to have students that are also in school and they’re learning about dancing and music, singing and traditional instruments and all of the combined activities in their performance. So it supports our school and it supports their schooling. I’m just so excited for the younger generation to be a part,” said Thomas.
Thomas was honored to sponsor the troupe at the festival, which features a variety of regional artists.
The performance happened at Chuckwagon Corner Square, which is property of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes.