Mélange of music and dance by contemporary Native American and African American performers, presented at the Francisco Nunes theater in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, as a part of the 5th Encuentro of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, titled Performing Heritage: Contemporary Indigenous and Community-Based Practices. This performance brings together four contemporary American performances drawing from the artists' cultural roots: Quetzal Guerrero (Native American violinist and dancer), Larry Yazzie (Meskwaki/ Dine World Champion Fancy Dancer), David Pleasant (African-American Gullah/Geeche percussion and song, performing with dancer Joyah Pugh), and Dancing Earth (Indigenous Modern Dance collective directed by Rulan Tangen, with the participation of Quetzal Guerrero, Anthony Thosh Collins and Alejandro Meraz). Quetzal Guerrero and Thosh Collins open the evening with a traditional chant from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa indian community, followed by Quetzal's original solo violin piece. Larry Yazzie then performs his dazzling powwow Fancy Dance from Tama, Iowa, followed by the energetic and powerful percussion of African American David Pleasant, who draws on rhythms dating back to slavery in the United States. Dancing Earth performs a dance piece about the creation of the earth, and the evening ends with all performers bringing together their traditions--and the audience--on stage. There is also a post-performance discussion with the artists, in which they talk about the origins and meanings of their performances.
Larry Yazzie: (Meskwaki/Dine) is a World Champion Fancy Dancer who consistently takes top honors at American Indian powwows in the United States and Canada. In 1995, he won the World Championship for the Northern Style Fancy Dance. Larry was raised at the Meskwaki Nation’s homeland in Tama, Iowa (USA). At the age of seven he took up Fancy Dancing. The Fancy Dance is beloved for its flamboyant and colorful regalia, as well as for the physical challenge it poses for powwow competition dancers. Creativity and endurance are tested by song after song at an up-beat tempo. Since he was in his early teens, Larry has been competing in the powwow category. As a performer, Larry has toured the United States, Canada, and Europe. In 1994, with the Foxwoods Dance Troupe, he performed in France, Poland, Finland, and Russia at the Goodwill Games in St. Petersburg. With the Discover Native American Dance Troupe, he performed at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympic Games. In 1998, he danced in the motion picture Grey Owl with actor Pierce Brosnan. In 1999, he was featured with the Lakota Dance Troupe at the Native American Film Awards in Los Angeles. In 2001 he co-produced an innovative collaboration with Keith Secola and The Wild Band of Indians, combining Native American dance with contemporary native folk, and blues. In 2001 Larry became an original member of the Kevin Locke Trio.