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Native Dance Styles Old and New Demonstrated at Mitchell Museum

A story about a presentation on traditional and contemporary dance at the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian on July 11.
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Visitors will learn about traditional and contemporary versions of Native American dances from veteran powwow dancers and cultural ambassadors Mark Denning and his daughter, Isabelle, 18, at an all-ages presentation from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 11, at the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian in Evanston, Illinois.

The Dennings, who are enrolled members of the Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin, also trace their lineage to Menominee, Mille Lacs Ojibwe, Lenape, Delaware, and Mohican ancestors. While demonstrating the evolution of various dances, they'll also relate the origin stories behind the dance steps and explain details of ceremonial regalia.

Isabelle Denning will demonstrate versions of the jingle dress dance, developed by Ojibwe women of the upper Great Lakes region centuries ago. Mark Denning will focus on early and newer editions of the men’s sneak-up dance, inspired by hunting techniques. He says it’s interesting to see how these dances have evolved while the music has remained the same.

Audience members will be encouraged to dance, although participation is optional. “Wear comfortable shoes and clothes,” Mark Denning says.

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The Dennings will also teach visitors a simple step that novices can use at intertribal pow wow dances, when Natives and non-Natives alike are invited into the arena dance circle.

Beforehand you can watch Mark Denning in action in this video (Vibha-Milwaukee's Vibe 2011; Native American Dance by Mark Denning and the Oneida dancers from Milwaukee, Performers: Mark Denning & Antonio Doxtator)


Admission to the dance presentation is $20 for the general public and $15 for Mitchell Museum members, in addition to museum general admission of $5 for adults, $3 for children (ages 1- 17), students (with ID), teachers (with ID), and seniors (age 65+). Museum admission is free for Mitchell Museum members and tribal members. Through Labor Day, admission is also free for active duty members of the U.S. military through the Mitchell’s participation in the 2013 Blue Star Museums program.

For information, phone 847-475-1030 or email Website: