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Culture Creators and Interconnected Individualism: Rulan Tangen and Anne Pesata's Basket Weaving Dance

  • Tria Blu Wakpa

Extract

This article meditates on the interconnectedness of the making and meaning of an Indigenous contemporary dance work that draws on intergenerational Jicarilla Apache basket weaving practices. Rulan Tangen choreographed the piece, performed by Anne Pesata, which is inspired by Pesata's lived experiences as a Jicarilla Apache woman and fifth generation basket weaver. Tangen—who identifies as mixed culturally, including Native, Polynesian, and European heritages—founded and directs Dancing Earth: Indigenous Contemporary Dance Creations, an intertribal company which originated in 2004. Tangen created the piece in February 2014 to honor Pesata and other Indigenous women leaders. The choreographer's commitment to undertaking projects that respond to Native elders' contemporary concerns and dancers' interests also guides its themes. Alongside music, the piece uses recorded voiceover that Pesata created and spoke. The voiceover makes transparent Pesata's familial connections with basket weaving and other Jicarilla Apache epistemologies and practices. The dance also elucidates relationships between basket weaving and Pesata's movements throughout, culminating in the creation of a figurative basket. According to Pesata, the dance “tells the story of the journey that you go through in making a basket from start to finish.”

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Dance Research Journal
  • ISSN: 0149-7677
  • EISSN: 1940-509X
  • URL: /core/journals/dance-research-journal
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