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Old 11-07-2007, 01:12 PM   #11
Minglin' N Jinglin'
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Originally Posted by crazywolf View Post

Boozhoo niji,

First of all, let me say that I went to AIA, had a wonderful time there, had fun dancing and did not have any major problems except for this one. I want to get other peoples reaction to this.

There is this group of dancers I have known about for a couple of years, lets refer to it as F troop. I have been watching them for a while, they get hired on by various pow wows in Florida and I can say honestly I was not impressed. The regalia is sub-par, the dancers themselves might not be too bad but the guy that runs the whole affair, we will refer to him as Mr. X, only drums during these shows, does not sing.

Well I pretty much just ignored them. The bustles on the fancy dancers were made so poorly that the dancers tear them apart just dancing. They are mostly flat and lain on top of each other, and a few of them are actually only semi circles. Now some of these kids look like they could actually dance, but they lack a lot of teaching that would keep them out of trouble at a traditional pow wow, like watching where they were going. I had trouble with them 2 years ago, running up behind me, and I politely asked them to keep space. Last year I ran into the same problem during Grand Entry, they gave me the excuse that I was backing up.

Finally this year, they put them all the way back at the end of the line and everything was cool. One of them came up to me Saturday afternoon and asked me something. I couldn't remember exactly what the question was, but I was honest, I told him about his bustles and how he could make a better set. Well later that day, Mr. X came up to me, introduced himself, and said that I had been saying some things about his work. Well duh. He told me to mind my own business. I said, I usually do.

So later, another boy, I don't think he was part of the group, but he came up to me and asked if I would show this one young man some dance steps. This kid was a fancy dancer wearing Gator colors. I looked over and saw Mr. X standing right there, and I simply said, I can't. I saw the young man look down at the ground all disappointed, then I looked at the one that came to me, and pulled him to the side and explained, I would, but I have been approached by a higher authority that I have to mind my own business. Well, that word got around quick.

The next morning, I was combing out my goats and was approached by the A.D. He came in a good way, gave me a prayer tie, and asked if he could sit in my camp. This man is probably close to twice my age and surprised me with his manners, I thought this was his first time, or very close to his first time being an A.D. I invited him to sit, and sat and listened to him, continuing to comb out my goats. He first of all stated his great admiration of myself and seemed a bit nervous approaching me. I told him that everything was cool, and he could say what he needed to. He asked about why I told the kids yesterday I would not teach, because I am someone they admire and look up to. I explained things and he nodded and understood. Oh yes Mr. X has a history here.

It seems that, he has a store in the area, he signs kids up that come into his store to dance. He would make all the outfits, teach them how to dance, and take them to pow wows. They put on the show, and at the same time, he promotes his store. Its a neat little operation. So now I am understanding some things. I wonder... could this be considered as exploitation?

Also, they go to pow wows, and show dances of the different kinds, even the eagle dance and hoop dance, and average Joe public comes to watch and accepts this as being Indian.

Finally, Mr. X has a iron grip on his flock. I was told by a friend of mine there, that two years ago, he caught a couple of those boys stealing my moves. I use the term lightly, could just say copy or whatever, he said steal. I think its pretty cool though. But when they went off to do their own thing with my moves Mr. X steps in and tells them to NOT dance that way, dance the way he taught them. Its either that or quit the F troop. I was told that one kid actually took off the bustles he was "given" to wear and threw them on the ground and left. And if its the kid I think it is I saw him at Chambers a year ago with a new (and much better) outfit, and being quite the fancy dancer.

Love it or hate it, the man is doing one thing good, and that is keeping these kids off the street and away from some of the bad crap that goes on in our cities. The bad part is these kids are going to grow up not knowing any better, might go to a real pow wow somewhere and wind up seriously insulting someome, out of ignorance.

I thought about doing this myself, starting a dance group. The only difference between me and Mr. X would be that... well there are a lot of differences actually. I would not tell the kids exactly how to dance. Our dances are, after all, open to some interpretation. There are guidelines but its not exactly choreographed. I don't think I would ever threaten an kid that wanted to go off and do his own thing by kicking him out of the group. And I would teach or have someone help teach the steps and how to make the regalia, so it would be his/her regalia, not something they would have to leave behind should they leave the group. Finally I would not try to tackle this by myself. For one thing traditionally I can no more teach a lady how to dance than she teach me to dance. I would hire the best I could find in each dance to show these kids what to do. And I dont think I would promote a store using someone elses labor. I would promote the group though, get us more gigs elsewhere.

There, I said what I wanted to say. I think overall what hurts me the most is this guy is using these kids, making them do soemthing they think they want to do.

HAHAHA I know exactly what group you're talking about. I was told waaaaaay back when AIA was a really good powwow that they had reputable people in their group that tried to help them out but eventually they got pushed out and they no longer wanted anyone to help them. I also don't think that Mr. X is entirely to blame. I remember last year when we were lining up for GE I was standing in front of their fancy shawl dancers with my friend and I overheard them discussing how they didn't like another shawl dancer because she requested a doublebeat and they didn't know how to it and how they gonna push her out the line. Ridiculous stuff. Also supposedly they get paid for every performance/event they attend and dance at but they never stay very long. Ususally they stay long enough to go in GE and an exhibition.
Don't ever stop dancing
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