100 Inupiats learn to line dance at Anaktuvuk Pass talent show
From the tender age of 5, to a celebrated 76-year-old, more than 100 people from Anaktuvuk Pass poured out onto the school gymnasium floor on April 4 to line dance as an audience-participation portion of Nunamiut school's 2014 talent show.
As an Anaktuvuk Pass elementary teacher, I was excited to have organized this year's talent show, which in recent memory of fellow staff is the first one.
Students from pre-school to 12th grade took part in the extravaganza to one extent or another, offering everything from an entertaining mime act by 6th-grade student Josh Mekiana-Morry and reading and language arts teacher Elizabeth Dillman, to an adorable kindergarten/first grade puppet show, done to the tune of the '60s song, "Rock Around the Clock".
Later, high school English/language arts teacher Colby Root's performance as "Fiddler on the Stage" begged an encore performance that brought would-be river dancers back onto the dance floor. Likewise, an excellent karate performance led by high school math teacher Lee Karasiewicz, along with elementary students Jeremiah Ticket and Calvin Fry, offered a stunning performance to the tune of "Flight of the Bumblebee" and "Eye of the Tiger".
"I'm still trying to fill the shoes of my childhood role models and it makes me feel alive," said high school math teacher Karasiewicz, when asked about his karate performance with the elementary students.
Finally, a delightful act was reenacted by the combined third- through sixth-grade classes, as students posed as orphans and sung and acted to the famous musical production of "Annie" "It's a Hard Knock Life".
For my own part, my husband Tim and I acted out a skit to "There's a Hole in the Bucket", with my unsuccessful attempt to convince him to fetch some water.
Other performances were no less entertaining, as school principal Pat Manning and his wife Paulene, lit up the stage and brought down the house with their eye catching rendition of the song, "Baby It's Cold Outside".
The pair dazzled the audience of school patrons and local villagers alike, with a charming performance that cascaded from a lovable tug of war into a dance, a dip, and a single kiss; bringing thunderous applause from the crowd.
The couple's performance was one of many that followed the program's theme, "There's Music in the Air," as one performance after another captivated the crowd, tugged at their heart strings, and brought them to their feet and back onto the floor to dance to The Electric Slide.
"It was so fun to see everyone come together and enjoy each other's talent under Denise and Tim Bowman's direction and production. You could tell that each individual act was carefully planned and prepared for. But one of my favorites was when the audience joined in dancing 'The Electric Slide'. We saw kids from ages 2 to 76 sliding and smiling. I think our elders really enjoyed being invited to join in and "slide" a bit too. It was really a special night," noted Paulene Manning, Special Education teacher at Nunamiut.
One of the evening's other highlights came when school staff member Violet Kakinya dawned the full suit of a smartly dressed wolf (the school logo), to lure the audience back onto the dance floor, as she danced to the tune, "Gonna Make You Sweat". And sweat they did, as nearly all in attendance formed a human "wolf" chain to follow after the brightly clad damsel, as she led them around the floor dancing to the upbeat tune.
"It was plain to see that a lot of time and a great deal of work went into making this happen for the school and community," insisted Inge-Lise Jensen, retired teacher and village resident.
Denise Bowman is a teacher at Nunamiut School in AKP. She has taught on the North Slope over the past four years and has coordinated and directed numerous school talent shows here on the Slope.