Jones Benally Family Dancers | Navajo (Diné) traditional dance from Arizona
Homegrown Concerts from the Library of Congress, Co-sponsored by the American Folklife Center
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2019, 12:00 PM
Coolidge Auditorium, Ground Floor
World Champion hoop dancer and traditional healer Jones Benally, his daughter Jeneda, his son Clayson, and his three young grandchildren form the Jones Benally Family Dancers. Navajo dance is a sacred tradition encompassing a wide variety of forms, all of which aim to heal the body, mind, or spirit. When presented outside the Navajo community, these dances are modified for public viewing, but they retain their deep capacity to move hearts and minds. The family sings, chants, plays traditional rhythm instruments, and performs a repertoire of over 20 dances, including traditional forms such as basket dance, eagle dance, feather dance, and corn grinding. They are particularly well known for the hoop dance, in which they evoke traditional figures and shapes using five, nine, a dozen, or many more hoops.
Jones Benally is a respected elder of the Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona. His skill as a hoop dancer has won him worldwide acclaim and multiple world champion titles as well as the first Heard Museum Hoop Dance Legacy Award. Jones was featured as a singer in the 1993 film Geronimo. He works as a traditional healer, and was among the first traditional medical practitioners to be employed by a "Western" medical facility, where he worked for nearly 20 years. Jones Benally is also recognized by the state of Arizona as an Arizona Indian Living Treasure. Jeneda and Clayson Benally have performed with their father for over three decades, and have also made their mark (along with brother Klee) as the Native American Music Award-winning "alter-Native" punk band Blackfire. The siblings' newest project is the duo Sihasin ("hope"). Jones Benally's grandchildren are the next generation to take up the family legacy of Navajo music and dance.
A free noon concert series presented by the American Folklife Center and the Music Division of the Library of Congress. Most concerts are held in the Coolidge Auditorium (located on the Ground Floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress) or the Whittall Pavilion (next to the Coolidge, on the Ground Floor, Jefferson Building). Occasionally, concerts may be in other locations, which will be specified above in the concert description. Presented in Partnership with the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. NO TICKETS REQUIRED.