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Left:  Hopi snake dancer ( adobegallery) Right: A Hopi male during the annual snake dance and ritual prayers for rain, 1946 (public domain)

Dances with Snakes: The Real Reason for the Hopi Snake Dance – Part II

The day prior to the final Snake Dance performance in the plaza, before sunrise with Orion and Sirius rising, two warriors of the Snake society make several circuits around the Snake and Antelope...
Detail of ‘Hopi Snake Dance’ by Cornelia Cassady-Davis.

Dances with Snakes: The Real Reason for the Hopi Snake Dance

For thousands of years the Hopi tribe of northern Arizona has performed a secretive, sacred ceremony that embodies the manifold and richly evocative archetypal nature of the serpent. In modern times...

A Hopi Hero’s Journey: How the Snake Clan Came to Arizona

Joseph Campbell, in his classic book The Hero With A Thousand Faces explores in depth the universal mythic narrative of the culture-hero (traditionally male) who goes forth not to conquer but...
16th or 17th century painting of the ‘Dance of Death.’ The living weren’t always scared of the dead.

Dance Macabre: How the Dead Danced with the Living in Medieval Society

Ashby Kinch / The Conversation In the Halloween season , American culture briefly participates in an ancient tradition of making the world of the dead visible to the living: Children dress as...
Reog Ponorogo performer and spectators.

The Reog Ponorogo: A Dance of Rebellion Which Changed History

A fearsome lion monster with peacock feathers on its head charged and twirled about as cavalrymen curtseyed and jumped by. The onlookers were entranced with the story playing out in front of them...
A Strange Ancient Dance with Unknown Origins – How Far Back Does the Morris Dance Really Go?

A Strange Ancient Dance with Unknown Origins – How Far Back Does the Morris Dance Really Go?

Morris dancing is a type of folk dance from England. It is unclear as to when Morris Dancing began to be performed, though there is evidence that this dance has existed for several centuries, the...
Somalia: The Ancient Lost Kingdom of Punt is Finally Found?

Somalia: The Ancient Lost Kingdom of Punt is Finally Found?

Tourists from all over the world are welcomed in Upper Egypt to admire temples and learn about the fascinating history of ancient pharaohs. However, the pharaohs’ true origins are not told and our...
A Dance for Gods, Wars and Beauty: The History of the Elegant and Deadly Ancient Art of Sword Dancing

A Dance for Gods, Wars and Beauty: The History of the Elegant and Deadly Ancient Art of Sword Dancing

The study and practice of sword wielding has been developing for over 4,000 years and continues to fascinate. Its mastery demands a great deal of a person’s physical and spiritual capacity. Like any...
The Four Great Beauties, and the Arts of the Courtesans in Ancient China

The Four Great Beauties, and the Arts of the Courtesans in Ancient China

The Four Great Beauties are four ancient Chinese women renowned for their beauty which they skillfully exercised to influence Chinese history. Although each of the Four Great Beauties frequently...
The Royal Ballet of the Dowager of Bilbao's Grand Ball, 1626.

Displaying Sophistication with Masks and Curtsies: The Early History of Ballet

Ballet has been described as an art form created by the movement of the human body . It is a type of dance performed on a stage in front of an audience. The word ballet is derived from the French...
Painting of Orixas dancing.

Candomble: The African-Brazilian Dance in Honor of the Gods

Candomblé (meaning dance in honor of the gods ) is a religion found primarily in Brazil with a number of elements derived from African cultures. It not only incorporates some religious aspects of...
The Dance of Zalongo, Theophilos Hatzimichail

From Here to Eternity: the Tragic Tale of the Dance of Zalongo

Once known as the birthplace of Alexander the Great's mother Olympia, the former Ottoman Empire region of Epirus has a much more recent historical significance. Under the reign of Ali Pasha, a Muslim...
Mah Meri tribe of Malaysia

Mysterious Mah Meri tribe of Malaysia conduct ritual dance to the dead for another good year

Members of the Mah Meri tribe of Malaysia have just completed their annual ancestor-worship ceremony, an elaborate ritual involving dancers with intricately-carved masks who perform the historic Main...
Kachinas - the Gods of the Hopi

The Gods of the Hopi and the dance of the Kachinas

The Hopi live, move, and have their being in religion. To them the unseen world is peopled with a host of beings, good and bad, and everything in nature has its being or spirit. Just what kind of...