A circus with a land acknowledgment: Bindlestiff shows respect for native cultures with its act at the Vilar
, 2023-03-15 18:12:09,
Even the most seasoned circus-goers probably haven’t seen many big shows that start with ground clearance.
But that’s exactly how the Bindlestiff Cirkus family got their start at the Vilar Performing Arts Center on Feb. 28, the final performance on the band’s tour of Nebraska, Wyoming, and Colorado.
Before the show began, Bindlestiff founder Keith Nelson took a minute to inform the audience—in a kind of land acknowledgment that’s becoming commonplace these days—that the area where they were enjoying nocturnal activities was once home to the Ute tribe.
But unlike the typical acknowledgment of the land, the reverence for indigenous cultures did not end with the simple words spoken at the start of the event. Among the highlights of the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus is ShanDien Sonwai LaRance’s Native American Hoop Dance.
“She tells stories and gives you ideas that are thousands of years old,” said Nelson of Larance’s performance.
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Hoop dancing is a tradition in many Native American cultures, in which hoops—much like the common hula hoop—are used to represent the circle of life and become props in a larger performance that tells individual stories.
Larance’s own story is a powerful one…
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