Dex­ter­ous dic­tion

Pasatiempo - - Mixed Media -

At 5 p.m. Sun­day, April 3, the Len­sic Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter (211 W. San Fran­cisco St.) presents Moc­casins and Mi­cro­phones: Mod­ern Na­tive Sto­ry­telling Through Per­for­mance Po­etry by the Santa Fe In­dian School spo­ken-word team. Founded in 2003 by Ti­mothy P. McLaugh­lin, the spo­ken-word pro­gram em­pow­ers stu­dents to cre­ate orig­i­nal po­etry, much of it fo­cused on in­dige­nous life and phi­los­o­phy. “The per­for­mance po­etry of the SFIS poets is a con­tin­u­a­tion of the an­cient tra­di­tion of sto­ry­telling through a fresh, mod­ern for­mat,” McLaugh­lin said.

Named one of the “Ten Who Made a Dif­fer­ence” in 2008 by The Santa Fe New Mex­i­can, the team con­sists of 16 per­form­ers, most of them be­tween 13 and 18; one of them, a teacher ap­pren­tice who has al­ready com­pleted the spo­ken-word pro­gram, is 21 years old. The group per­formed at The Chicago Theatre and the Na­tional Mu­seum of the Amer­i­can In­dian and in Lithua­nia, Latvia, and Es­to­nia. Six­teen per­for­mance pieces cover an ar­ray of po­lit­i­cal, spir­i­tual, and per­sonal top­ics that speak to the per­form­ers’ lives as teens, young adults, and tribal mem­bers. For ex­am­ple, “In­dian Ed­u­ca­tion 1” ex­plores el­ders’ ex­pe­ri­ences at a board­ing school; “War” asks au­di­ences to con­tem­plate the mil­i­tary con­flict in Afghanistan through the eyes of a Na­tive sol­dier who is vis­ited by his “shadow self” dur­ing com­bat op­er­a­tions.

McLaugh­lin said that Moc­casins and Mi­cro­phones is the largest and most elab­o­rate show pro­duced by the SFIS spo­ken-word pro­gram. “This mo­ment is re­ally the cul­mi­na­tion of a great eight-year jour­ney. Last year, we cre­ated a CD to doc­u­ment the finest po­ems in the pro­gram’s his­tory, and this year we’ve de­vel­oped this the­ater pro­duc­tion from po­ems off the al­bum. There is a lot of song and dance in­ter­wo­ven into these per­for­mances. I’m ex­tremely proud of what these stu­dents have ac­com­plished, and they’re ex­cited to see this pro­duc­tion breathe on­stage in front of a large and di­verse au­di­ence.”

Tick­ets for the event, $10, are avail­able by call­ing 988-1234 and vis­it­ing www.tick­etssantafe.org. For more in­for­ma­tion about the pro­gram and the CD, check out www.sfis­spo­ken­word.org.

— Rob DeWalt

Santa Fe In­dian School spo­ken-word team mem­bers

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