Circle of Dance

October 06, 2012–October 08, 2017
New York, NY

Circle of Dance is a five-year exhibition that presents Native dance as a vibrant, meaningful, and diverse form of cultural expression. Featuring ten social and ceremonial dances from throughout the Americas, the exhibition illuminates the significance of each dance and highlights the unique characteristics of its movements and music.

Music and dance have always been essential to the spiritual, cultural, and social lives of Native peoples. Unique forms of ritual, ceremonial, and social dancing remain a vital part of contemporary community life. Everywhere dance is found, it is accompanied by distinctive Native musical styles. Rich music and dance traditions create strong ties that bind American Indian communities to all living things, to the earth, spirit world, and—when people have deep ancestral claims to their dances—to the past.

Presenting a wide range of movement styles, Circle of Dance illustrates the dynamic dances through which Native peoples maintain old ways and introduce new ones, while expressing and celebrating their strongly felt tribal, village, clan, social, and individual identities.

Northern Traditional Dancer, Terry Fiddler (Cheyenne River Sioux), National Museum of the American Indian National Powwow, 2007. Photograph by Katherine Fogden (Mohawk).
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