Broncho Dance

Artist: Minerva Teichert
Bronhco Dance, a painting

Minerva Teichert (1888-1976), Broncho Dance, 1950, oil on canvas, 46 x 63 inches, Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of Amy T. Barker.

Commentary by Janielle Christensen
Living Legends, Artistic Director

My favorite quote from the movie Dances with Wolves, is a journal entry written by Lt. John J. Dunbar, who became a great admirer of the Native American people while on lone duty at a remote outpost on the American frontier. He writes, “They were a people so eager to laugh, so devoted to family, so dedicated to each other. The only word that comes to mind is harmony.” As director of the Living Legends, I could easily describe my Native American students with the same words. And looking at Minerva Teichert’s joyful Broncho Dance, I can feel the same sentiments reflected in the faces and the movements of the dancers coming together as families in a communal dance.

It is possible that a dance such as this would be created by an extended family and would include elements that are valued by a people who live in harmony with nature, family and elements of the world around them. Taking on the traits and appearance of animals often becomes an important part of both ceremonial and communal dances. The dancers might mimic animal traits they admire, or perhaps honor animals for their part in legends that have been passed down through the generations. Broncho Dance embodies the passion of the dancers and the warmth of community amid the driving rhythms of the drumbeat and the constant presence of noble wise chiefs and ancestors. How I would love to step into this painting and become a part of the magic and spirit of this joyful gathering!
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