Eddie Madril of Sewan American Indian Dance
Eddie Madril is a member of the Pascua Yaqui tribe of the Sonora Desert region. He is an active member of the Native American community and a representative of his culture through various aspects: as a dancer, singer, teacher, playwright and filmmaker. He is the founder of Sewam American Indian Dance, a performing arts organization dedicated to Native American arts, education and cultural exchange, bringing together both contemporary and traditional Native dance and music to produce inspiring and visually stunning presentations.
Hoop dancing has a deep history surrounded by similar stories believed to explain its origins. Some say that in its original form, the Hoop dance is believed to have been part of a healing ceremony designed to restore balance and harmony in the world. In that form, the dance is not exhibited to the public. Another story says the dance was created for children who would need to climb to safety in their cliff dwellings. Other stories say the dance tells a story of all creation, including the lifetime of an individual. In recent years, a public form of the dance has been developed. Contemporary Hoop dancers, using as many as 40 reeds or wooden hoops, can create many shapes, including butterflies, turtles, eagles, flowers, and snakes. They represent living things and show how everything is connected and how it grows and changes.
In Native healing ceremonies, there’s often a re-creation or recollection of origin stories telling participants about where they come from and that they are invincible. In sharing this Hoop dance on Native Ohlone land, Eddie Madril invites the audience to participate and re-create their own origin stories.
The regalia being worn is all hand made mostly by the dancer himself. The cape and apron represent the colors of fire in the center of the world, the leggings are made from mountain sheep, and the Moccasins are made from leather and adorned with beads.
The song is a Southern Plains style song composed and performed by Thomas Phillips and his drum group, Southern Express. The singers create a melodic harmony using Kiowa vocables. Vocables are not specific words, but sounds that represent the initial and sustained breaths of life.
Cultural or Ethnic Identity:
American Indian Hoop Dance
Thomas Phillips with Southern Express Drum Group