Shonto Preparatory School students dance across nation

Photo by Daniel Tate
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Shonto Preparatory School students dressed in their traditional Navajo regalia in Ithaca, N.Y. after a May 8 performance at the Cayuga Nature Center.

Photo by Daniel Tate <BR><BR> Shonto Preparatory School students dressed in their traditional Navajo regalia in Ithaca, N.Y. after a May 8 performance at the Cayuga Nature Center.

Students of Shonto Preparatory School have been involved in a project called, "Dancing Across the Land" under the 21st Century programs for more than a year. They have been researching and learning various native dances.

The project has produced a video, which will soon be posted on the active.com website and performances throughout the Ithaca City School District in New York. Recently, the group performed at the Hualapai Tobacco Program Youth Conference in Scottsdale on July 7 and 8.

All the students are of Navajo descent while a few have ancestors from the Black Feet, Laguna and Cree nations. They perform many of the powwow dances along with some of their own Navajo traditional dances and skits. Some examples of the dances are: the grass dances, girls' fancy shawl, jingle dress, girls traditional, hoop dance, round dance, Hopi buffalo dance, basket dance and the traditional Navajo round dance. Most of the dances are accompanied by Shonto's very own drum group, the Bear Springs Drum Group. When they perform, narration of all the dances compliments their routines.

Student participants are as follows: Myron Klain, Aleya Bitsinni, Cory Keith, Davidson Dickson, Triciya Bitsinni, Francheska Yazzie, D'Andrea Turner, Davian Turner, Domenique Dickson, Amber Johnson, Darshina Yazzie, Tonya Ellis, Adrian Joe, Adrianna Joe, Kyle Nez, Loren Nez, Miguel Redshirt and Robyn Sands. The students were able to accomplish a 2-hour production under the leadership of: Nita Little, Niya Turner, Esther Klain, Carrie Redshirt and Daniel Tate.

In the near future, these students will be performing in Sedona, Glendale, Tucson, Washington, D.C., Okeechobee, Fla. and back to upstate New York.

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