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The 2010 Annual Kyi-Yo Pow Wow

April 19, 2010
by

After a long, ridiculous, and unacceptable absence from the site, my guilty conscience had forced me to find the time to contribute a little something to this fabulous blog which I feel most blessed to be a part of. Though my writing is quite short, if pictures are indeed worth a thousand words, then I am the wordiest of us all! Muahaha.

So, I was most fortunate this past week to go on an all-expenses paid (or pre-paid as is closer to the truth: my tuition) trip to Montana for an academic research conference. The most amazing part, in my opinion, was the Kyi-Yo Pow Wow. The event lasted all weekend and  I was able to attend the dance competition Friday night. It was incredible! The pictures speak for themselves:

I was also fortunate in that I, without knowing it, sat down next to a man who teaches at the college of a nearby Native American reservation! He was able to answer all of the questions about the competition, which made the experience even more worthwhile. My favorite dancers were the fancy dancers (whom I have posted pictures of). I really really really would like to learn the dances myself! Ever since I had to give up ballet I’ve been looking to fill that hole in my heart. But that might be a problem because, well, I liked the male fancy-dancing the most and I’m not sure you’re allowed to cross-dance in Native American culture. The women’s dancing just wasn’t as energetic, though it was very pristine and beautiful in its own right. I like the idea of jumping around and spinning fast in the rhythm of the drums (the male part). The grass-skirt swishing (the female’s) just doesn’t appeal as much…

Let me know if yall are interested and I can post more about this experience!

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Kaimalino permalink
    April 20, 2010 4:51 am

    Ooooh! I love it! I’m so glad you posted this! What great shots! And how cool to have an insider’s perspective. What did you learn about the specific techniques involved with the various dances that was new to you? What were the judges (or the knowledgable audience members) looking for that made one performace better than another?
    A few years ago, one of my best friends growing up (a Hawaiian/Filipino boy) married a Navajo girl and I went to their wedding reception. It’s standard at Hawaiian weddings for the bride to dance a hula and have hula dancing as entertainment. . . even I danced at my wedding. But this reception was incredible since the bride did a fancy dance and her little sisters and nieces also did fancy dances and then an amazing hoop dance while her uncles drummed. THEN, some of the groom’s friends danced hula. The bridesmaids all wore traditional Navajo-patterned dressed but with lei on their necks, per Hawaiian custom. It was probably my favorite wedding reception ever, the ultimate cultural fusion, and so beautiful in so many ways.
    I wish you could chat with my oldest son (7) about ballet. He just loves it. “Ballet’s the best,” he told me a couple weeks ago when I picked him up from class. “You get to dance AND speak French at the SAME TIME.” He is such a cheeseball we rather fear he has a future career in food service as a starving artist. 🙂

  2. Maryam permalink
    April 20, 2010 8:47 pm

    wow, that sounds so neat! i love your take on which dances you’d like, and the gender differences.

    kaimalino, best wedding ever, wow!

  3. April 20, 2010 11:07 pm

    These pictures are amazing – the male fancy dancer’s costume is to die for. WANT.

    Learning, learning – so much fun! I don’t know a great deal about dance or dancing, but it’s one of those things I watch enviously and try out secretly and one way or another, read a lot about. In a parallel dimension (where I’m as skinny as a stick), I’m a ballroom-dancing cheerleader in a tutu that isn’t haram.

    In other words: ❤

  4. April 20, 2010 11:39 pm

    ooh! put more about this! fascinating

  5. April 21, 2010 6:44 am

    Wow! This is such a great post, and beautiful pictures!

    I can relate to having to give up ballet and trying to find a way to fill that hole…I have struggled with it myself. I’ve picked up other kinds of dance, tried to do bellydance on my own, that sort of thing, but it has been hard to really have the same feeling of fulfillment.

    I have always been interested in Native American culture, since my uncle was the only white pipe carrier for…I want to say the Cheyenne, but I might be getting things mixed up. He died when I was really young so I don’t remember him that much but I inherited a lot of his meditation blankets and other things.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say I really enjoyed the post! And your pictures are DEFINITELY worth more than a thousand words 🙂

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