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Eskimo dance troupe will give two performances
Nunamta, a Yupik Eskimo dance troupe, will be on campus as artists-in-residence during the 22nd Annual Stanford Powwow, May 7 to May 10. They will perform at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, May 8, in the powwow dance arena, the field adjacent to Stanford Stadium, and again at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 9, at the Manzanita outdoor amphitheater.
Sponsored by the Alaska Native Students Association "to share an important aspect of traditional Yupik Eskimo culture and to foster cross-cultural understanding," the performances are open to the public. "There is no admission charge, but donations will be welcome," said Alaska Native student Anastasia Cooke.
The dance troupe, which has performed internationally, will dance in traditional fur parkas, fur boots, headdresses and dance fans. The dancers will tell the stories behind the dances and explain the meanings of the dance movements, which are similar, said Cooke, to those of native Hawaiian dance. One of the dances to be presented, she said, tells a traditional folktale that was revived by her great-uncle.
The four members of the Nunamta troupe - Janet Andrew, Vernon Chimegalria, Marie Meade and dance director Chuna McIntyre - are from the Kuskokwim river region on the central coast of Alaska, about 450 miles west of Anchorage. While the Yupik culture is related to North American Indian cultures, it is distinct from them and also from other Eskimo cultures, and is most closely related to the Siberian Yupik, said Cooke.
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