September 27, 2007

A Penobscot in Paris

Good golly, Miss Molly shone

Native American dancer was toast of Paris in the '30sDuring the Great Depression, it was tough times all over for performing artists. Tougher still, if you happened to be a Native American dancer from the Penobscot First Nations on Indian Island off of the coast of Maine. The opportunity to do much more than play a stereotype in one of the travelling "Frontier Indian" shows of the day was next to nil. Molly Spotted Elk did this and much more, becoming the toast of Paris society in 1931, wowing French audiences of the day.

Evening in Paris, a new interdisciplinary show created by Spiderwoman Theatre founder Muriel Miguel and Raven Spirit Dance's Michelle Olson, tells Molly Spotted Elk's story through dance, spoken word and archival photographic and cinematic images. It also ties her tale into the legacy of First Nations women's histories of the time; a "journey of forgetting and remembering."

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