First frost to the first lightning

First frost to the first lightning
Ai Mitton/ UVU Review
Ai Mitton/ UVU Review

The evening began with the beating of drums and a song inviting the universe to join us.

On Feb. 1, a large crowd packed into the storytelling wing of the Orem library to watch the group of Native American dancers called Morningstar.

The children sat on woven blankets and listened quietly as Gary Field, a member of Morningstar and father of many of the dancers, told them stories. It was appropriate for Field to tell stories on that cold February evening, according to the legends of his people.

“We only tell stories in the winter, because if we tell stories in the summer the snakes will come to listen,” Field said.

Typically storytelling happens from the first frost in the fall to the first lightning in the spring.

Field told stories about how day and night came to be, how a frog was able to beat a bear, and about a rooster and a coyote and their competition to make the sun rise.

Not only did Morningstar share fascinating tales about how they view the world, but they also shared pieces of their incredible history through words and dance.

Their performance, called the “Fancy Warrior Dance,” was immensely entertaining and required great skill to perform. It originated in Oklahoma many years ago.

The Morningstar dancers are big believers in family and their group is primarily made up of family including Field’s children, sisters-in-law and mother-in-law.

His son Jacob, who shared his amazing gifts with the audience, is also a student at UVU studying dance on a ballet scholarship. Jacob participated in many of the dances, but one that was particularly remarkable was the hoop dance, in which he used  21 hoops used to create the shapes of various animals. These animals were created in what looked like an effortless fashion, while he continued to keep pace with the drum.

Don’t be surprised if it rains soon because Field’s wife and daughters performed a “jingle dance” or “rain dance.” As they stepped gracefully to the beat of the drum, their costumes dangled with small tubelike pieces of tin that clanged together, mimicking the sound of rain falling.

While they audience was amazed by their dazzling performance, Field assured them that they all have special talents too.

“No matter where we are from or what language we speak, we each have a special gift to share,” Field said.

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