The Indigenous Dance Program (IDP) honors the ancient traditions of movement that have been intertwined with this land from the footsteps of the First Americans. It also honors the newest forms of dance, many of which have been inspired by ancient steps, costumes, body adornment, and music.
IDP has three interrelated components under the direction of Andrew Brother Elk. The first is to foster a creative environment that blends ancient indigenous culture with contemporary dance. Earth Dance Theater is this environment, our professional company that performs new dance creations in a truly American dance theater.
The second component is research. IDP pairs excellence in choreography with excellent ethnographic investigation to form dances that are derived from the Ancient Ones who danced on the land for thousands of years. IDP is forming collaborative partnerships with tribes, universities, and institutes to provide accurate source material for the artistic staff, and research opportunities for students and faculty.
The third component is training. IDP trains new dancers, musicians, artists, and technicians in our unique blend of ancient and contemporary. Conducted at the San Francisco Dance Center (Market and 7th Streets) three times a week, this training activity exposes new dancers to the rigors of a dance company life, the revelations of dance research, and the joys of the creative process. It also provides experienced company dancers with the time to create new performance pieces. And for the community, it is FREE!
These three combined activities—a dance company, research, and training— are the core of IDP.
Click here to see images that inspire our creative work at IDP, including traditional California Indian dances, dancers, regalia and body adornment, as well as inspiration from other indigenous regions, and inspiration from contemporary sources.
Click here to read more about our vision for IDP, our values, and how we hope to accomplish our work as a team.
The Indigenous Dance Program is a project sponsored by the Native American Cultural Center (NACC). Click the link above for contact info. For more specific information on IDP or to discuss booking the Earth Dance Theater company, please contact us at (415) 641-9466.
BAY AREA DANCERS
In addition to our professional dance company Earth Dance Theater, a variety of performers are available for presentations from the American Indian community. If you wish to contact one of these artists to arrange a visit to your school or community event, please go to Local Artists and contact them directly. Here is an excellent link to information about different Pow Wow dancing styles: PowWows com
IMAGE ABOVE: California Indians, mostly Ohlone, dancing in front of Mission San Francisco in 1816. This was 49 years after the Spanish invasion and sequestering of indigenous people at mission work camps. The location is present day Dolores Street at 16th Street in San Francisco. The illustration shows a wealth of detail about Ohlone dance forms, steps, body adornment, and audience participation. This may have been the last dance by a people who had danced on the land for over 3,000 years, adding immense historical significance to the gathering. It is also a sad harbringer of things to come, as the 16th and Dolores Street site would later become the mass grave for Indians who died in the mission concentration camps.