World Arts West
SF Ethnic Dance Festival


Sewam American Indian Dance

DANCE ORIGIN: North American Indigenous
GENRE: Native American
First appearance in SF EDF: 2012

Eddie Madril founded Sewam American Indian Dance in 2011 to bring the music and dance of Native American culture to Native and non-Native audiences alike. Madril, a founding member and dancer of Four Winds American Indian Dance group, has shared native culture across the Bay Area for over thirty years as an award-winning dancer and educator. Specializing in the dances of United States Plains Indians, Sewam has performed across the country, inspiring audiences and sharing the power and beauty of Native American people.



DANCE ORIGIN: North American Indigenous
TITLE: Origins
GENRE: Native American
DANCERS: Michael Bercier, Anecita Hernandez, Eddie Madril, Marcos Madril, Lilleana Torio
MUSICIANS: Michael Bercier, Eddie Madril

Origins opens with Native American Hoop Dance, inspiring the story of creation and relationships with the natural world. This dance creates symbols of the eagle, butterfly, and baskets. As it progresses, it becomes a fitting centerpiece for a suite of powerful Native American dances.

Other dances shared are:

Womenís Jingle Dress, a healing dance from the Great Lakes Ojibwa. One story says that the dance was created from a manís dream, a message from the Creator that the dance would heal his loved one.

Menís Chicken Dance, an old-style Blackfoot courting dance that mimics prairie chicken courtship. With its full-body movements, good chicken dancing is about attitude: about strutting your stuff!

Menís Northern Traditional Dance, one of the oldest forms for Northern Plains people such as Sioux, Blackfoot, and Crow, telling of war, hunting, stalking game, and returning from battle. In Lakota, dancers sing: Come out and dance / We dance for you / Be proud.

Womenís Fancy Shawl, or Butterfly Dance, from Northern Plains Tribes, added to pow-wows in the 1930ís-40ís. This dance has a more ďmodernĒ style, mimicking butterflies in flight with a graceful and athletic style for women.

These traditional dances are improvised, in response to a dancerís in-the-moment feelings, and to drumbeats, singing, and community. The overarching choreography was set by Eddie Madril.

The regalia design is based on a dancerís family, tribe, or region. Modern, vibrant materials have begun to replace the historical use of quills and skins, but every element still has a specific meaning. Eagle feathers bring goodness and prayers from Earthís heartbeat up through the dancerís heartbeat to the Creator.

A staff or club represents battle; historical bone breastplates are protective regalia; hoops are the endless circle of life. The drum is the heartbeat of the Earth, the world around us, and the heartbeat of us all. The lyrics are often simple and true: Today is beauty, dance hard!


TITLE: Hoop Dance
DANCER: Eddie Madril
Sewam Dance presents the Hoop Dance from the Native American Plains. Some say the Hoop Dance was given to a dying man from the Northern Plains who wanted a gift to leave behind. The Creator gave him a series of wooden hoops, one for each living thing he created. In the Southwest, it is said cliff-dwelling children practiced this dance for dexterity.

Edwardo Madril describes the Hoop Dance as both an ancient and contemporary story of creation. The dancer begins with a single hoop, evoking the circle of life, with no beginning and no end; the circle through which the first humans arrived; a single cell; the circle of day and night; the Krebs cycle; the shape of birds nests, of the strongest winds and waters, and of animals' burrows. Next, two hoops represent man and woman; day and night; cold and hot; and the balance of life. The third hoop represents the birth of new life, and four hoops evoke stages of life, four seasons, and four natural colors and four directions.

The dance continues to add circle upon circle, representing all living beings, and from a single cell, comes one sphereóour living world.

Traditional live drumming and singing by Marcos Madril accompanies Sewam Dance for this Festival performance.

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