Cultural Identity: Rulan Tangen
Confronting ecological collapse, choreographer Rulan Tangen creates seeds : ReGeneration. Through her Dancing Earth company, Tangen collaborates with tribal leaders and dancers across the Four Corners region. Combining community visioning exercises and interdisciplinary movement, their resulting performances center Indigenous artistic and ecological knowledge.
I want for you to embrace your responsibility
as ceremonial beings.
[ Indistinct chanting ]
And I want for you to forget the word sacrifice.
In tradition, there has been so much of that.
And now, the ceremonial councils are saying,
"Let's bring new words."
We don't sacrifice anymore. We gift of what we are.
That was given the ability to walk, talk,
breathe, sing, dance, on this Mother Earth.
Tangen: To me, choreography is finding
the movement in everything.
In the world, movement is life.
So that's what choreography is, is, like, working
with the source of life.
We invite Women of the Americas.
Three, four, five, six.
We draw the red...
Dancing Earth becomes a catalyst through indigenous wisdom.
It's about no longer being not enough.
So that's fed to us in terms of many forms of colonization
or societal oppression.
I think there is an inclusive element.
Learning from personal philosophies that were rooted
in ancient practices.
Like, this is how I live my life.
This is why I do it.
Here and now we raise our voices,
and know more, like, everything...
I think dancing is also a decolonization
that happens not only through intent,
but through our process.
So that people will know that they're enough
and that what they can dream of, they can become.
Through our work, I get invited to communities
and they're might be an elder there
that takes an interest or someone comes to performance
and stands up and gives some oratory afterwards.
It speaks to what we've done.
We share whatever they thought was important
for the world to know, to be translated through dance.
So that reminded me to trust our bodies
and to believe what they believed,
which is that performance is a functional ritual
for transformation and for healing.
Uqualla: Rulan came into an indigenous setting
and gave a brilliant presentation to elders,
and they shared their informations of history,
tradition, culture, language.
Rulan then brought this into what we're seeing today.
"Dancing Earth" is a flagship in which, through the arts,
is going to bring an awakening and understanding,
and that is why the elements of the arts are being brought in
to have that expression.
Drawing, singing, dancing, writing --
these are the tools.
Our work became ecologically focused
because it seemed that the elders and the culture carriers
were identifying that as the themes that could --
that were most important to share with the whole world.
Anything that was related to "let's learn
how to live on this earth again."
Uqualla: The sacred's globally,
the sacred's within the indigenous lands
are being raped,
pillaged, plundered, desecrated.
This is not acceptable.
♪ Seek justice
♪ Fight for human peace
♪ And believe in themselves
♪ So that they may lift the Earth up high ♪
♪ With their strong little fleshy hands ♪
♪ In multi-hues
♪ Lift the Earth to unfathomable heights ♪
If you can change one person's heart
for even a second,
I feel like that's progress for me,
and the things that I know --
my culture, my education, my experience --
is worth sharing.
And I feel like that's when change happens
is when people see it and they feel it,
and then they finally believe it.
It takes a lot to get there, but it happens.
Salazar: Just being able to tell people that we're here.
This is who we are.
I want to be able to continue my language
and continue positive aspects of my culture,
like the planting, the healthy habits,
the connection with the Earth.
Tangen: Part of your purpose in dance is to remind us of hope
and that what we do makes a difference.
And also to bring beauty.
Beauty is a very serious and important value.
Beauty through performance as an actual ritual
in which we embody the truth that we wish to see.
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