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Nation in Motion: Lakota Sioux Dancers “Come to the Center” for Monmouth U Performance

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10/7/2015

As part of the 20th annual season of Performing Arts events at the Pollak Theatre, The Center for the Arts at Monmouth University has announced that tickets are on sale for a Sunday matinee performance by Lakota Sioux Indian Dance Theatre.

Scheduled for 3 p.m. on October 4, the event represents the exclusive opportunity for area audiences to catch Cokata Upo! — Come to the Center, the acclaimed touring presentation from artistic director Henry Smith and his New York-based troupe of Native American dancers, singers, and musicians. Described as the story of the birth, death and rebirth of a nation, Cokata Upo! frames its sprawling saga in traditional dance, song and storytelling forms, and sets it against a modern-world backdrop of spectacular video imagery.

The performance also represents a further validation for The Center of the Arts mission, here in its tenth year at Monmouth. The program that has introduced coastal New Jersey audiences to the cultural ambassadors of numerous nations continues to bring the world to Monmouth’s doorstep in the 2015-2016 season. It’s a schedule that spans the sounds of western Europe and southern Africa; classic English literature, contemporary South Asian drama and, on October 4, the voices of North America’s indigenous people.

An adopted member of the Lakota Sioux — in addition to being a Shaolin Buddhist monk, a champion martial artist, and a producer of Bollywood films — company founder Henry Smith has made a specialty of cross-cultural dance theatre collaborations that have found common ground between the far-flung traditional forms of the Lakota Nation, Japan, India and West Africa, and that have resulted in several award winning broadcast projects.

Evolving from the company’s first public performances at the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota — and composed with the input and support of traditional Lakota teachers, healers, pow-wow dancers, storytellers and community elders — Cokata Upo! celebrates Lakota history through a three-part theatrical experience that weaves traditional narratives, sacred dances, courting songs and creation stories into a life-affirming mix that’s energized by visceral lighting effects, projections, and the drumbeat of a culture that’s determined to make its voice heard in the new millennium.

Tickets for the October 4 performance by Lakota Sioux Dance Theater are priced at $35 and $45 (with special Gold Circle seating available for $55), and can be reserved through the Monmouth University Performing Arts Box Office at 732-263-6889, or online at www.monmouth.edu/arts. Tickets for other upcoming events in the new season of Performing Arts events — including Taylor 2 Dance (January 31, 2016) and Native American “renaissance man” Robert Mirabel with chamber ensemble ETHEL (March 4, 2016) — are on sale now.

To schedule interviews, please contact Kelly Barratt at 732-263-5114.