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Ballet company from Osage Nation shares story with New Mexico audiences

Filed Under: Arts & Entertainment | National
More on: new mexico, oklahoma, osage, randy tinker smith

The Osage Ballet Company. Photo from Facebook

The Osage Ballet is on the road again, bringing the story of the Osage Nation to audiences in New Mexico.

"Wahzhazhe" is being staged twice in Santa Fe on Saturday. The ballet is produced by Randy Tinker Smith, a tribal citizen who was raised in New Mexico.

Smith came up with the idea for the ballet while working at the Osage Nation Museum, The Albuquerque Journal reported. She spent a year consulting with elders to learn what she should and shouldn't include in the production, the paper said.

The result shows the Osage people from pre-contact times to their present-day home in Oklahoma. It includes some painful chapters, such as land and oil disputes.

“A lot of it is really sad … but it’s also very joyful,” Smith told the paper. “We are still a strong nation … . Through immersion programs, our kids are learning the language.”

Since its debut in Oklahoma in 2012, the ballet has been staged in Washington, D.C., and in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where Pope Francis got to see a part of it.

More on the Story:
The sad, yet joyful, history of the Osage tribe is told through dance and music (The Albuquerque Journal 8/5)
Remembering Maria: Osage Ballet (The Santa Fe New Mexican 8/5)
The Osage Tell Their Own Story (KUNM 7/29)
Osage Ballet to bring story of Osage people to Santa Fe, N.M. (The Pawhuska Journal-Capital 7/20)

Related Stories:
Ballet company from Osage Nation to perform for Pope Francis (09/24)

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