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Time To Pow Wow With The Thunderbird American Indian Dancers

Time To Pow Wow With The Thunderbird American Indian Dancers

Theater for the New City (TNC) invites you to its 47th annual Thunderbird American Indian Dancers’ Pow-Wow and Dance Concert, to be held January 14 to 23. Performances are Fridays at 8:00 pm; Saturdays at 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm and Sundays at 3:00 pm at TNC, 155 First Avenue (at Tenth Street). Matinees are kids’ days, with admission $1 for vaccinated children ages five to twelve who are accompanied by a vaccinated, ticket-bearing adult. The running time is 90 min (all shows).

Kitty Gabourel – Maya, and Isabelle Cespedes – Mayan/Cherokee/Cree/Pawnee. Photo by James Rucinski

There will be dances, stories and traditional music from Native Peoples of the Northeast, Southwest and Great Plains regions. The event, emceed by Bessie-winner Louis Mofsie (Hopi/Winnebago), has become a treasured New York tradition for celebrating our diversity by honoring the culture of our first Americans.

Matoaka Little Eagle – Santo Domingo/Chickahominy, Ciaran Tufford – Maya/Cherokee/Cree/Pawnee, and Julian Gabourel – Maya. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

Highlights will also include storytelling by Matoaka Eagle (Santo Domingo/Chickahominy), a Hoop Dance set to guitar and flute music that will be performed on alternating dates by Marie Ponce (Cherokee and Seminole), Michael Taylor (Choktaw) and Matt Cross (Kiowa); a Deer Dance (from the Yaqui Tribes of Southern Arizona) with Ciaran Tufford (Mayan/Cherokee) and Carlos Ponce (Mayan), and various ensemble dances: a Grass Dance and Jingle Dress Dance (from the Northern Plains people), a Stomp Dance (from the Southeastern tribes), a Shawl Dance (from the Oklahoma tribes), a Fancy Dance (from the Oklahoma tribes) and a Robin Dance and Smoke Dance (from the Iroquois). As the audience enters the theater, they will be serenaded by the Heyna Second Son Singers (various tribes).

Matt C. Cross – Kiowa, and Carlos Eagle Feather – Maya Pipil. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

Pageantry is an important component of the event, and all participants are elaborately dressed. There is a wealth of cultural information encoded in the movements of each dance. More than ten distinct tribes will be represented in the performance. The dozen-or-so dancers are people of all ages, raging from 13-year-old Isabel Cespedes (Mayan) to retirees.

Michael Taylor (Choctaw) in Hoop Dance. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

Throughout the performance, all elements are explained in depth through detailed introductions by the troupe’s Director and Emcee Louis Mofsie (Hopi/Winnebago). An educator, Mofsie plays an important part in the show by his ability to present a comprehensive view of native culture. Native American crafts and jewelry will be sold in the TNC lobby

Marie Ponce – Cherokee/Taino. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

The troupe’s appearances benefit college scholarship funds for Native American students. The Thunderbird American Indian Dancers Scholarship Fund receives its sole support from events like this concert (it receives no government or corporate contributions), and has bestowed over 350 scholarships to-date. Theater for the New City has been presenting Pow-Wows annually as a two-week event since 1976, with the box office donated to these scholarships.

Foreground: Ciaran Tufford (Maya/Cherokee/Cree/Pawnee). Photo by Jonathan Slaff

Last year, due to the COVID lockdown, this event had to be presented virtually.

For complete info, including history of the troupe and this event, visit  w  


Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email:

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