Yup'ik Dancers From Alaska To Perform At CU-Boulder, Pearl Street Mall And Local Schools Oct. 5-8

Published: Sept. 26, 2005

The Kicaput Singers and Dancers of Alaska will perform on the University of Colorado campus, Pearl Street Mall and several other Boulder locations during an Oct. 5-8 visit sponsored by the CU-Boulder Native American Law Students Association.

Dance group members are comprised of Yup'ik descendants from the Kuskokwim and Yukon river deltas and along the Bering Sea in southwest Alaska. Though known as Eskimos in American popular culture, they prefer to be referred to by their traditional name, according to Dena Ivey, president of the Native American Law Students Association and a Yup'ik descendant.

The group will perform Oct. 5 in the University Memorial Center fountain court and Oct. 7 on the Fleming Law Building's north lawn from noon to 1 p.m. on both days. In case of inclement weather, the performances will be held indoors.

Each evening from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. from Oct. 5 through Oct. 7 the group will perform on the Pearl Street Mall by the Boulder County Courthouse and the public is invited to participate. On Saturday, Oct. 8, the group will perform from 11 a.m. to noon at the Central Park band shell and from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on the Pearl Street Mall, weather permitting.

All performances are free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted. In addition to the public performances, the group also will perform at several local elementary schools.

The Kicaput (pronounced "gitch-ah-put") Singers and Dancers perform in traditional Yup'ik regalia, consisting of qaspeqs (a light overgarment), mukluks (calf-high boots made from seal skin, wolf, beaver or wolverine), headdresses (made from feathers or wolf/beaver fur, beads and animal hide) and dance fans (made from wood and feathers for the men's dance fans or woven grass and caribou beard hair for the women's dance fans). Yup'ik drums are traditionally made from bent circular driftwood and walrus stomach.

The Kicaput Singers and Dancers are based in Anchorage and perform different interpretations of elements of the traditional Yup'ik village lifestyle. Songs and dances can depict comical or serious situations involving animals, hunting, fishing, berry-picking and social interactions.

Each time a verse and chorus is repeated in a Yup'ik song the beat of the song increases. By the last verse and chorus, the singers and dancers perform the song at a feverish pace. To "tease" the dance group at the end of a song, it is customary for an audience member to shout "pamyua!" Ivey said. "Pamyua" (pronounced "baum-yo-aah") means "encore" in Yup'ik.

After a "pamyua," the dance group must perform an additional round of the song at an even faster pace than before. However, "pamyua" should only be used for one or two songs during a performance because it is important to keep the dance group from getting worn out, Ivey said.

The performances are co-sponsored by the CU Cultural Events Board, the University of Colorado, the CU School of Law, and the law firms of Holland & Hart and Greene, Meyer & McElroy, P.C.

The CU-Boulder Native American Law Students Association promotes awareness of Native American issues at CU-Boulder, develops community for Native American students and organizes activities to enrich the law school and assist members in career development.

For more information call (303) 746-1737.

Kicaput Singers and Dancers Schedule

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Time Location Address

12:00-1:00pm UMC Ballroom (if foul)

UMC Courtyard (if fair) CU Campus

6:30-7:30pm Pearl Street Mall (if fair) Pearl Street Mall

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Time Location Address

9:30-10:30am Whittier Elementary 2008 Pine St.

1:30-3:00pm Eisenhower Elementary 1220 Eisenhower

6:30-7:30pm Pearl Street Mall (if fair) Pearl Street Mall

Friday, October 7, 2005

Time Location Address

9:30-10:30am Crestview Elementary 1897 Sumac

12:00-1:00pm Law School Pit (if foul)

Law School North Lawn (if fair) CU Campus

1:30-2:30pm Mesa Elementary 1575 Lehigh

6:30-7:30pm Pearl Street Mall (if fair) Pearl Street Mall

Saturday, October 8, 2005

Time Location Address

11:00am-12:00pm Boulder Bandshell (if fair) Boulder Creek Park

1:00-2:00pm Pearl Street Mall (if fair) Pearl Street Mall