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waltonksm

More "Dancing"

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Here are a few more from the Friday night session.  With no school the next morning, there are more people in attendance. There were also some treats and practical items (given as presents) passed out as part of a memorial to a Yup'ik cultural leader who passed away 40 years ago.  So some of the younger children got lollipops and cupcakes.  I had dryfish, but the plate I was given also contained agutak, muktuk, and some sweets.  Actually, I like agutak when it DOES NOT have fish included. I love catching big salmon on rod and reel, but do NOT like to eat fish.  I NEVER eat muktuk. I will leave you to discover what agutak and muktuk translate to.  

 

Nothing like a good lollipop

 

And here is a more detailed photo of a woman's dance fans.  Yuo can clearly see the woven portion and the caribou hair.

Dance Fan Closeup

 

And just as with the previous night, many of the young are participating and learning the dance. 

Yurak: Eskimo Dancing at St. Mary's

 

This young girl is NOT a beginner.  She has been doing this for at least two previous seasons. And as you will notice, our weather has gotten a bit cooler. 

So Carharts (jackets and snow pants), with kuspuks, and also some Sorels for footwear.

 

Yurak: Eskimo Dancing at St. Mary's

 

Yurak: Eskimo Dancing at St. Mary's

 

You can see that many more people have shown up to practice this night. 

Yurak: Eskimo Dancing at St. Mary's

 

Yurak: Eskimo Dancing at St. Mary's

 

Granddaughter and Grandma.  And Grandma has a really nice pair of dance fans.

Dance Practice

 

 

Many years ago at one of our activities we must have packed over 300 people into this hall.  It was minus 25F outside, and we had all of the windows open to help get rid of the heat and moisture.  I could feel the floor and the bleachers shake with the dancing.  Not long afterward I had a geotechnical engineer examine our foundation and soils to see if we were about to collapse the building with our huge crowd and the dancing. 

 

Frequently tundra soils and minimal foundations do not work well together.

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The shots are OK, mostly documentary vs artistic due to the cluttered background, etc., but you work with the environment you have. I find the first shot with the lollipop the most interesting. Funny how she didn't seem to know she was being photographed. :)

 

Gb

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Thanks for looking.  Yes, they are really intended to be documentary, with the hope of putting together something to cover practices, potlatches, and more.  And yes, every once in a while i get something that is a bit more interesting. 

 

I have been working for almost three years to become "part of the scenery" at these events.  Many of the kids know me, and are oblivious to my camera. And I need to figure out a way to make some more "artistic" shots.

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Nice to hear that you are experiencing some revival in interest in traditional culture when so much of the world is drifting towards a homogeneous (non-)culture.  Also good that you are documenting it.

 

 

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I have done a small amount to facilitate the dancing and associated activities, but several others started working to restore dancing and potlatches in the mid 1980's.  I helped organize a couple of these (in a very minor role.) Two of the more active people have now passed away, and I did not do a good enough job of documenting their contributions in the past. I want to make sure that I do not miss the current group of people that are leading and fostering participation by the young.

 

Part of the incentive for these activities is the belief that transmission of traditional culture will help mediate some social problems in the village (alcohol and drug abuse, suicide, and more.) I do not know if this really happens, but at worse, it can't hurt.  I am taking many photos in the hopes of documenting this, and occasionally I get something that I really like. There is a chance (very slim) that I can put something together that can be sold to raise a few dollars for travel expenses and for some of the supplies that the dance group needs. They are occasionally invited to attend events in other villages, and travel costs make it hard for more than a very few to travel.

 

I am not sure if I posted this photo before, or not.  I cannot find it with my posts on fotozones. But this is a shot that I attempted MANY times before getting this one.  The room has low ceilings, at least 10 different brands of florescent lights, and all of differing ages. 

 

Drummers at St. Marys, AK

 

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