Arizona Pow Wow Brings Teens, Adults Together for Season’s First Dance
Dancers and spectators set foot inside the Northern Arizona Academy Gym in the small dusty town of Winslow, Arizona, on Saturday, January 25, to finally have their first dance of the New Year.
"Boy, has it been a while," said champion fancy dancer Rudy Bob, Diné, who was out of breath after dancing in the grand entry. "I haven't danced since October, and even though it’s crowded, we came because there’s no other pow wow for a bit."
Earl Sherman, Diné and Ute, who also attended the Winslow Residential Hall Youth Powwow, said that many dancers came from far away because they hadn't danced in long time due to all the recent weather cancellations.
There are a lot of people here because there are hardly any pow wows around here," Sherman said. "They put this pow wow at the right time. There’s no competition anywhere else and dancers are itching to dance after a long layoff."
However, the popularity of the pow wow also made the small venue less than ideal for the many people ready to dance and congregate. Moreover, in order to maximize value for the teen students and their younger peers, the pow wow committee had full categories for them, but to the chagrin of many older dancers, all the adult categories were combined into one competition.
"We were all really looking forward to this pow wow, especially in the winter but some people were disappointed that they combined the adults," Sherman said. "There were more people earlier, too, but when they found out that the adults weren't going to be in the contest many of them laid back and didn't dance in the evening."
"I know that some people didn't like that we combined the adult categories, but we wanted to focus on the young kids and teens and I think they got a lot," said Thomas Yazzie, Pow wow coordinator and longtime northern traditional dancer.
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