Better than Coffee: Nakotah LaRance

Columbus Day has been rebranded as many things – from Indigenous People’s Day to Imperialist Day to Exploration Day. To celebrate this holiday, we’ll be publishing a three-part series of blog posts by guest writer and Coilhouse Issue 01 contributor Rachel Waters, a.k.a. Io, about modern native art and culture.

Io writes, “I’ve gotten pretty weary of the Diane Sawyer/Lisa Ling poverty porn about natives and I felt it was time someone focused on the massive renaissance of native art/music/dance as it relates to decolonization and forging a 21st century native identity which pays homage to the traditional whilst being thoroughly cutting edge. I mean, these guys are creating genres of music like Powwow-Step, creating really strong public art, mixing breakdance and grass dance and holding Sacred Cypher competitions with all native hip-hop and dance troupes.”

The first piece in the series is going up imminently. For now, enjoy this video of hoop dancer Nakotah LaRance dancing to a song by New York-based electronic duo The Knocks. LaRance, 23, is a six-time world hoop dancing championship winner who was just 19 years old when Cirque du Soleil discovered a video of one of his performances, and invited him to go on tour. In this video, Nakotah takes to the desert to perform a stunning dance routine. [via Io]

4 Responses to “Better than Coffee: Nakotah LaRance”

  1. Io Says:

    Minor correction to my late night email, Cyphers aren’t generally competitions, but gatherings where people can express themselves through music and dance. :) That said, there are indeed indigenous B-Boy/B-Girl competitions all over the southwest.

  2. mack Says:

    Forging a new 21st century native identity… there’s a lot of power in that statement. It’s a fierce train of thought and something to be proud of. Definitely something worth promoting! I really liked this article a lot. I hope more countries/people do this. I hope mine does for sure! Old ways and traditions are dying but paying homage to them in new meaningful ways, taking old ideas and making them into something new and your own is a great way they can live on into the future. Top read. Good food for thought.

  3. Io Says:

    Mack, culture is fluid and ever-changing, but as long as stories are told, songs are sung, and languages are spoken, these traditions will flourish and survive through the generations. They may not be identical to those which were practiced 1,000 years ago, but they will be alive to lend a sense of purpose and history to those who know them.

  4. M.S. Patterson Says:

    I have been working my way backwards through the series, and these are all great. I’m really glad to see the humor and art and culture of native people still moving forward.