On Wednesday, October 12, TASIS England hosted some special Native American visitors.
The six members of the Jones Benally Family Dance Troupe represent three generations of Navajo Native Americans. Jones Benally, the most senior member of the family and one of the main performers of the Hoop Dance, is approximately 80 to 90 years old. He cannot be sure because Navajos did not traditionally have birth certificates.
During assembly, the family performed traditional Navajo dances and shared some of the background for the dances with Lower and Middle School students. In the afternoon, the family spoke to the students in Upper School History and Theory of Knowledge classes about their ancestors, ancient traditions, and culture.
Navajo dance is a sacred tradition and encompasses a wide variety of forms, all of which are intended to heal the body, mind, or spirit. When presented outside of a Navajo community audience, the dances are modified for the public.
The TASIS England community enjoyed the Benally family’s performance and the talks:
"The hoop dance was amazing!"
"Jones was my favorite dancer and it was interesting to hear about life as a Navajo."
"I want to visit the Navajo community one day because it sounds like a very interesting culture."