Hoop Dancer Teaches Native Culture During “Summer Dance!” Program at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York

Ty Defoe Celebrates Unity, Creative Expression in July Series

June 27, 2017

This July, the National Museum of the American Indian’s George Gustav Heye Center hosts Ty Defoe (Oneida/Ojibwe), a multidisciplinary performance artist who will be sharing his traditional hoop dancing with visitors of the museum. Defoe draws upon many forms of creative expression, combining storytelling, vocal songs and flute demonstrations to provide a multidimensional cultural presentation. The museum will present Defoe as part of its “Summer Dance!” program Tuesday through Thursday for three weeks in the Diker Pavilion for Native Arts and Cultures. Performance dates are July 11–13, 18–20 and 25–27 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. each day. Admission is free.

“‘Summer Dance!’ offers an enhanced museum experience for camp groups that visit in high numbers during the summer, and for many of these youth, this is their first and possibly only experience here,” said Shawn Termin, the museum’s program manager. “We work really hard to make it very special, memorable and educational for them.”

Defoe leads a conversation about Native American cultures and guides his audience through his performances using indigenous instruments. His hoop dance is performed against the backdrop of the “Circle of Dance” exhibition, which highlights the vibrancy of dance regalia from Native peoples across the Americas. The dance communicates the beauty of the symbol of the hoops—the interdependency and unity of all living things.

Defoe sang on the Grammy Award-winning album, Come to Me Great Mystery: Native American Healing Songs. He is an educator, writer, musician and cultural pioneer who takes an active role in reclaiming the “colonized” aspects of his Native identity and culture. He recently contributed to Daniel Banks’ storytelling project “Breaking Our Silence” and has been featured in media outlets like The FADER magazine and AJ+. Defoe holds degrees from California Institute of the Arts, Goddard College and New York University’s Musical Theatre Writing Program at Tisch School of the Arts.

About the National Museum of the American Indian

The National Museum of the American Indian is committed to advancing knowledge and understanding of the Native cultures of the Western Hemisphere—past, present and future—through partnership with Native people and others. The museum’s George Gustav Heye Center is located at One Bowling Green in New York City. For additional information, including hours and directions, visit AmericanIndian.SI.edu. Follow the museum via social media on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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[Category: Society and Culture]