NATIVE ANIMAL DANCES -
The roots & still constant reference of our All Species Theater are in the ancient villages of Earth - in autonomous native communities of the many bio-regions of the beloved "Airth". Village dance & theater of the ancient world, with it's whistle & word, it's seed rattle & heart drum, mask & representative costume, it's incense & offerings- to further the abundance & balance of great nature- are wherin inter-species little-town-theater evolved for milenia - as a way to pass on ways to Thrive & Wisdoms hard earned.
When I was a youngman & still I wandered 3 continents: hitchhiking ,bus, walking,horse, boat, plane - for 15 years I wandered working & living through most all of North & Meso America, Central America,and South to the Pantagonia, which is where my first son was born while homesteading amongst the Gauchos & Wasos, the Mapuche of the Patagonian Bioregion. Once I was able to hitch as far north as the Artic Circle to hear the Lapish Saami Yoiking Chants & mythic theater & as far East as to meet native Siberians who played jaw harps with my guitar. After serendipitously running into backlands village festivals on the long and winding road , I began to seek them out everywhere.
All along this blessed & struggling way I was welcomed in mostly, as a man who could appreciate their cultural arts for what they are - the hospitality offered by & to the natural land and seascape - the getting-to-know-you of other-than-humans species - a way to respond to great nature within a theater of relationship .
Some backlands people like the Hopi of Arizona & the Dogon of Mali spent various millennia making nature theater for their villages to live in some semblance of cooperation & balance within the stage of nature , the theater of life - all species theater - millenial dramas of life & death & life again.
Imagine for a moment or remember if you can, life before TV in the 1950s , before movies in the '30s , before Internet in the fast turning of this century. People have always migrated and been transient in the landscape , but there were and are yet certain communities of place who remain for thousands of years , who carry arts of place that are older than time as we know it . One thing in common amongst the great diversity of the human species is that in our cultural origins we all have dance and festival as basic culture building tools , dances of place , festivals of the time of year , marking the times of life, commemorative home-made theater of relationship to other people , local species and the landscape itself.
How did we try to "navigate' the many relationships that things would go well ? Through conversation & contemplation, through mask & puppet , through painting and song ,through offering & prayer, through music & dance. Anyway you look at them these dances are stunning remembrance of connection - and amongst the most sublime & informed of human arts - and i posit that some will out-live all else culturally as the vastly complex distant support systems of the techno-culture and our modern day cargo-cults begin to lose connection , whats left of indigenous people will be the ones close enough to the ground and local support systems to survive - partly for having these dances, these cultures of the immediate - this ancient connection to place & species- it will be bioregionally close-to-the-land people who are sustainable - it wont be the high tech society which require distant complex productions systems - real survival & thrival will continue to consist of dance & theater for the living here & now
FILMING THE SACRED
Times have changed enormously, to say the least since the origins of theater - and although it is & always will be, generally speaking, inadvisable to subject what is essentially an intimate spiritual art to film documentation - as it tends to turn shamanic culture into show-manship culture (although they are always inextricably entertwined ) The belief of many ancient people is that things of prayer are best not documented too much, that they remain wholesome in an oral tradition, a bardic spontanaiety, often within a carefully protected classical divination form.
However in these times village dance theater is disappearing altogether, along with the bioregional cultural ways to which they belong, as they are replaced by the cargo-cults of distant techno-corporations. So for the sake of remembrance within distracting modern times , a mind set that tends to devalue & replace neighborhood arts with media arts , I for one see it as imperative that some of this be recorded for the sake of re-membering & re-creation . Whereas the old festivals amongst people of place were many and always creatively evolving, they are now all but gone in the face of the electronic cultural practices of the near 7 Billion people.
There is too an interesting phenomena going on in native cultures of place around the world as they take on the communication tools of the times .The children & students within these groups are now filming their own family events & putting them up on you-tube which can only to be found by people who know what they are looking for.
So all the video we put up here at this point is already put up on the internet by the people themselves. The native "pueblo" dances of "New Mexico", of Okiwenge village by Peter Garcia(RIP) & his brother Andy who brought their dancers to our opening ceremonies for years at Earth Days & All Species Days in Santa Fe, those Eagle dancers & Butterfly dancers , even Buffalo dancers , adults & youth who opened our events for years are up here filmed by their own people with the great respect that they are due.
So herein you'll find a small archive of some of the finest animal dances of the South & North America. Some Australian of aboriginal dances may go back 60,000 years - We hope to grow this archive to include some of the oldest dances and theater on earth and if you have worthy sources or choice examples please do contribute them as this is an act of love , an archive of the living ancient earth of people who tried to live in balance and communion with their bioregions. Soon we hope to put up the 1000 + year-old songs that are still sung dayly: Yemanja ocean-goddess songs of the African Yoruba, Vedic songs, Quechua Incan corn planting songs.
We encourage you submit potential links to these pages to firstname.lastname@example.org ---- Respectfully done, non-commercially oriented, film of these cultural practices is rare - Amongst the thousands now on the web , few are well done & these are hard to find and we are still all learning - together - for All Our Relations - caw