Spirit: A Journey in Dance, Drums and Song, the Native American answer to Riverdance, will receive its New York/New Jersey PBS debut March 18 on WNET Channel 13 at 9 PM.
A blend of modern and traditional movement, Spirit Dance features a cast of 80 in a fervent display of Native American dancing and drumming, including 40 contemporary and traditional dancers, percussionists, musicians, traditional vocalists and the Green Bay Oneida Nation Girls Choir. Two featured performances include rock musician Robert Mirabel mixing the flute and native drums while Kiowa Eagle dancer Ron Anquoe performs a traditional dance.
The show boasts a creative team of disparate talents. Broadway veteran Wayne Cilento (The Who's Tommy, How to Succeed...) choreographs the piece. The show's composer, Peter Buffett, is a Milwaukee-based musician whose credits include the film soundtracks "Dance With Wolves" and "The Scarlet Letter." Chief Hawk Pope, meanwhile, in addition to being lyricist, vocalist and musical collaborator on the project, is Chief of the Shawnee remnant tribe.
Then called "Spirit Dance," Spirit made its debut Aug. 7 & 9 at the 2,200 seat Weidner Center in Green Bay, WI. A national tour will be launched in Chicago in Oct. 1999.
-- By Christine Ehren and Robert Simonson