American Indian Dance Theatre Announce Mother Earth: A Healing
The American Indian Dance Theatre announces its much-awaited comeback! The premiere Native American performing ensemble returns with a new cast representing tribes from across the United States and Canada. In the 2023-24 season, the company will present a powerful new dance drama, Healing Mother Earth (Tsaw Dawm Gyah Ah Kahn Banh), dramatizing through dance, live music and ceremonial spectacle, the crisis of our lifetime: the struggle to save and preserve the Earth from the ravages of climate change and human abuse. This is a show for every human and being on the planet, an urgent message for audiences around the world.
Geiogamah said the company took the time in hiatus to reflect before re-emerging with this new production. He said, “I felt we needed to stop, recharge, refresh and review what we were doing, the way we were doing it and who we were doing it for. We used this time to heal ourselves, strengthen ourselves and discover new ways of being. The new show, Mother Earth: A Healing, is born from this this period of reflection.” “We are now doing dances with stories, with narratives, with themes and purposes,” Geiogamah notes, “to share our feelings, our thoughts about life, our views on the world, our take on urgent issues like the challenges of the climate crisis, on inequality and racism. This performance is an excellent way to show who we are, and it is a blessing.”
By sympathetically incorporating new and reworked narratives, rhythms, costumes and technologies with unique American Indian dance forms, AIDT is developing ways to advance and renew traditions and extend them into the future.
Geiogamah said, “One of the core beliefs of the American Indian spirituality is that personal responsibility is essential to deal with situations like climate change. The first act of the production depicts a Native American representative tribe dealing with environmental peril and fighting it with faith, action, art and culture.” It culminates in a draw, with earth’s resources depleted and its people anxious about the future. Act two is a ceremony of healing, illustrated with principal components of Native American creativity: ritual, repetition and spirituality.
Geiogamah said: “We hope that the audiences who see this show will be able to make the connection that climate change is fought not through weapons, rockets, tanks, nuclear bombs or drones, but by facing and changing our own behaviors. We hope to create a positivity that overcomes the negative and inspires cooperation across the community. Art and creativity are ways for us to open our hearts and minds and see the possibilities to trust, to unite, to keep the faith and to be courageous.”
He continues, “These are the kinds of strengths that have held the American Indian people together. We keep our faith, our hope, our courage. Right now I am seeing within the community a stronger display and expression of this inner spirit, definitely more than in the early days of our company. Our mission is not just to entertain but to also educate, and honor, the culture and present our cultural reality and cultural pride to the rest of the world. The American Indian Culture is Alive. The American Indian Culture has Energy, ideas and aspirations and is poised and waiting for the AIDT to start leading the way again.”
“Fascinating – filled with male bravura and female virtuosity…a feast for the eye!”
– The New York Times
American Indian Dance Theatre is respected as a professional performing arts company presenting the dance, music and traditions of Native Americans. In 1986, writer-director producer Hanay Geiogamah and director and producer Barbara Schwei presented a full-length dance production featuring American Indian dancers and dances at the Beverley Theater in Los Angeles. Following its critical and commercial success, Geiogamah and Schwei founded the American Indian Dance Theatre in 1987. Since its first performance as a company at Ford’s Theater in Washington, DC, they have toured extensively throughout the US, Canada, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.
The company is proud to be active in the Native American cultural renaissance that is challenging and changing the stereotypical misrepresentation and misunderstanding of its cultures through live performance, television and film.
Hanay Geiogamah is a celebrated playwright, director, producer and a leader of the Native American arts and cultural renaissance. Recently retired as Professor of Theater at University of California Los Angeles’ School of Theatre, Film and Television and the former director of UCLA’s American Indian Studies Center, he is from the Kiowa tribe of Oklahoma and has lived in Los Angeles for 35 years. He is the founder of the American Indian Theater Ensemble (1970) and cofounder of the American Indian Dance Theater (1987).
“A new dimension for some very old dances, and a new development for American dance as a whole…sheer spectacle with a transcendental spirituality!”
– The New York Post
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