Of Bodies Of Elements

Santa Fe Dance Company Makes History!


DANCING EARTH is the first Indigenous contemporary dance ensemble to receive the prestigious award of a National Dance Project production grant!

Rising to the top of a competitive pool, DANCING EARTH was selected alongside 20 other outstanding contemporary dance companies. Jane Forde, National Dance Project Manager states, “Artists are bridging cultures and creating work that will truly engage communities across the United States.”

“Of Bodies Of Elements” (OBOE) emerges from the deep soul of the landscape of America’s first peoples, embodying the themes of humans in relationship with cardinal elements in a primal yet articulate language of movement that speaks to all beings. The performance expresses the ensemble’s passionate exploration of the intersection of ritual, culture, and ecology.

Our first full-length production to tour nationally, OBOE is an exploration of Indigenous perspectives on environmental sustainability that has inspired a creative project of RACE AND ENVIRONMENT at Stanford University’s Institute for Diversity in the Arts. With OBOE, DANCING EARTH has reached far beyond dance audiences to engage community members in 8 states with performances and workshops. Movement and cultural perspectives have been shared, and new dances created in collaboration with elementary through high school students, juvenile detention centers, students of environment and sustainability, social workers, permaculture farmers, grandmothers and teens in Native cultural gatherings.

Bodies and elements come together through these dances which serve in the original ancient practice of functional ritual.

The work has been described as:

“One of the most successful translations of traditional culture into contemporary theater”
“an exciting dance statement” “Epic”
“Mesmerizing” “Innovative” “Symphonic”


and as voiced by the hereditary chief of the Blackfoot confederacy: “Something so special, its indescribable!”
CLICK below for link to an article by Chris Gibson in Broadway World: stlouis.broadwayworld.com/article

CLICK below for the review posted by the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics by Professor Jacqueline Shea Murphy:


Photo Credit: Paulo T. Photography

Photo Credit: Paulo T. Photography & Elizabeth Opalenik



“Of Bodies Of Elements” creation and national touring was made possible by the Doris Duke Fund for Dance of the National Dance Project, a program administered by the New England Foundation for the Arts with funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Ford Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Community Connections Fund of the MetLife Foundation.

It was created thanks to Santa Fe Art Institute and Dancing Earth Creations, with additional support from College of Santa Fe, National Dance Institute of NM, VSA North Fourth Art Center, Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship, National Hispanic Cultural Center, Santa Fe Opera’s Pueblo Opera Program, Espanola Public Schools Arts in Schools Program, Moving People/Santa Fe Dance Festival, Institute of American Indian Art’s College and Museum of Native Contemporary Art, Southwestern Association for Indian Art and Wise Fool New Mexico. Subsequent national touring in CA is made possible thanks to National Endowment for the Arts Challenge America grant, Yocha De He Community Fund, and Zellerbach Foundation; national touring thanks to our national presenters, and NM programs thanks to McCune Foundation.

“Of Bodies Of Elements” began with a preview in Santa Fe, New Mexico on January 31st at NDI Dance Barns, and in Albuquerque on Feb 6th-7th at VS Arts North Fourth Theater, and was subsequently performed for over 1000 schoolchildren in Northern New Mexico.

DANCING EARTH brings this new production to communities across the nation including:
(specifics regarding ticketing and theaters available in the monthly NEWS section of website)

  •  Photo Credit: Paulo T. Photography

    Photo Credit: Paulo T. Photography & Kate Russell

    2010 MARCH Stanford University

  • 2010 SEPT Washington University, Edison Theater, St Louis
  • 2010 OCT University of Indiana at South Bend
  • 2010 NOV Arizona State University’s Gammage Hall
  • 2010 DEC Native Wellness Institute’s youth leadership conference
  • 2011 JAN Myrna Loy Theater Helena Montana
  • 2011 JAN Whitefish Theatre, Whitefish Montana
  • 2011 APRIL UC Riverside, CA
  • 2011 MAY San Francisco International Arts Festival
  • 2011 MAY San Francisco ‘ International Powwow’ at Moscone Convention Center
  • 2011 AUG Living Heritage Festival, Santa Fe NM
  • 2011 NOV South Dakota
  • 2011 NOV Fort Lewis College, Colorado

A cultural study guide co-written by Dancing Earth’s director, Edison Theater of Washington University, and Arizona State University’s Gammage Hall, has been offered to all attending students, to expand the context of their experience.

Additionally, all sites invited extensive community engagement workshops, magnifying the community engagement to upwards of 20,000 people. These creative explorations grew from work developed courtesy of “INVOKATION” – a site specific improvisation developed with support from the Expressive Arts award of the National Museum of American Indian, and exercises developed at Stanford University’s Institute for Diversity in the Arts “Race and Environment” initiative.

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