Column: Dancing brings communities together
"Years ago, when I was even more naive, I made a serious, if short-lived, cross-cultural attempt to get Anglos, Hispanics and Pueblo Indians to dance together regularly.

I wasn't talking about your "American Bandstand" style of dancing but about traditional, what we would call "folk," dancing. My thinking was that we could learn each other's forms and do them together - and then, eventually, invent new, common forms that combined all three.

The idea was to bring the cultures closer without destroying their differences: a those-who-spin-together-win-together approach.

The weird thing was that the Pueblo Indians I talked with - a small group of Acoma dancers I'd stumbled into - were receptive. Yes, the dances we talked about doing together were those the tribe performed openly for all visitors. But I knew the Pueblos had survived hundreds of years of Hispanic and Anglo domination by closely guarding portions of their culture, including certain dances with special significance.

I was stunned and grateful. The idea never ultimately came to anything on my part, mostly because of the frantic crush of work. I did end up dancing once with the Acoma troupe at the finish of one of its performances at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque. It's something the dancers regularly and generously encouraged visitors to do. It wasn't pretty."

Get the Story:
Jack Ehn: Steppin' up (The Albuquerque Tribune 9/13)

Relevant Links:
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center - http://www.indianpueblo.org