Spring brings return of Bear Dance

Southern Ute Bear Dancers Shoshone Thompson and Keifer Goodtracks-Alires break off on Monday, May 27 during the final hours the Bear Dance, a Ute springtime celebration spanning four days.
Young dancers put their best feet forward.
Using wooden growlers laid across the growler box, Southern Ute singers brought familiar songs to the many dancers throughout the four-day celebration.
The color and movement of Bear Dance is exemplified by the youngest of dancers.
Filling the Bear Dance Corral, couples line dance in a synchronized rhythm, accentuated by the colorful fringes adorning the women’s traditional shawls.
A set of young Bear Dances kicked up dust throughout the weekend, drawing applause from the spectators both in and outside of the corral.
Young dancers stand with practiced patience as they prepare for a line dance with their peers.
Bear Dance Chief Matthew J. Box addresses attendees in the final hours of the Southern Ute Bear Dance.
Dancers Form a line with their chosen partners.
A young Bear Dancer shows focus during the line dance.
Young dancers pair up with their peers during the Bear Dance.
Dancers from all three Ute tribes make their way to Ignacio each year for the springtime celebration.
In the warm afternoon light, young dancers prepare to pair up for the day's last dance.
Catman Shane Seibel keeps a close watch on the dancers.
Girls, each wrapped in a colorful shawl, eagerly await the opportunity to pick out their dance partners in this women's choice dance.
A traditional cradleboard shelters a newborn during the Bear Dance.
Dancers of all ages step in rhythm to the Bear Dance songs, including Southern Ute elder Kathleen Hatch.
Southern Ute Bear Dance singers bring rhythm to the Bear Dance.
Elders visit the Bear Dance corral to watch younger dancers and visit with relatives.
The swish of a woman's shawl represents the rhythm of the Bear Dance.
A pair of young women hold their partners tight during the Bear Dance.
Wooden growlers resonate on metal, creating Bear Dance music.
Keona Whitey steps in sync with the Bear Dance songs.
The warm light of late afternoon bathes dancers as they break into pairs during the final songs.
Girls line up with warm smiles, laughter and determination as they face their dance partners.
Young Southern Ute tribal member Neeka Ryder adorns a traditional dress and shawl for the spring Bear Dance.
A young Bear Dancer in traditional clothing.
A well-dressed youth makes Bear Dance music, sitting alongside more experienced Ute singers.
Long lines fill the Bear Dance Corral on the final day of the Southern Ute Bear Dance.
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Southern Ute Bear Dancers Shoshone Thompson and Keifer Goodtracks-Alires break off on Monday, May 27 during the final hours the Bear Dance, a Ute springtime celebration spanning four days.
Young dancers put their best feet forward.
Using wooden growlers laid across the growler box, Southern Ute singers brought familiar songs to the many dancers throughout the four-day celebration.
The color and movement of Bear Dance is exemplified by the youngest of dancers.
Filling the Bear Dance Corral, couples line dance in a synchronized rhythm, accentuated by the colorful fringes adorning the women’s traditional shawls.
A set of young Bear Dances kicked up dust throughout the weekend, drawing applause from the spectators both in and outside of the corral.
Young dancers stand with practiced patience as they prepare for a line dance with their peers.
Bear Dance Chief Matthew J. Box addresses attendees in the final hours of the Southern Ute Bear Dance.
Dancers line up with their chosen partners.
A young Bear Dancer shows focus during the line dance.
Young dancers pair up with their peers during the Bear Dance.
Dancers from all three Ute tribes make their way to Ignacio each year for the springtime celebration.
In the warm afternoon light, young dancers prepare to pair up for the day's last dance.
Catman Shane Seibel keeps a close watch on the dancers throughout the weekend.
Girls, each wrapped in a colorful shawl, eagerly await the opportunity to pick out their dance partners in this women's choice dance.
A traditional cradleboard shelters a newborn during the Bear Dance.
Dancers of all ages step in rhythm to the Bear Dance songs, including Southern Ute elder Kathleen Hatch.
Southern Ute Bear Dance singers bring rhythm to the Bear Dance.
Elders visit the Bear Dance corral to watch younger dancers and visit with relatives.
The swish of a woman's shawl represents the rhythm of the Bear Dance.
A pair of young women hold their partners tight during the Bear Dance.
Wooden growlers resonate on metal, creating Bear Dance music.
Keona Whitey steps in sync with the Bear Dance songs.
The warm light of late afternoon bathes dancers as they break into pairs during the final songs.
Girls line up with warm smiles, laughter and determination as they face their dance partners.
Young Southern Ute tribal member Neeka Ryder adorns a traditional dress and shawl for the spring Bear Dance.
Beaded gloves and vest adorn a Northern Ute Bear Dancer during the Ignacio celebration.
A young Bear Dancer in traditional clothing.
A well-dressed youth makes Bear Dance music, sitting alongside more experienced Ute singers.
Long lines fill the Bear Dance Corral on the final day of the Southern Ute Bear Dance.
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Thumbnail image of Southern Ute Bear Dancers Shoshone Thompson and Keifer Goodtracks-Alires break off on Monday, May 27 during the final hours the Bear Dance, a Ute springtime celebration spanning four days.
Thumbnail image of Young dancers put their best feet forward.
Thumbnail image of Using wooden growlers laid across the growler box, Southern Ute singers brought familiar songs to the many dancers throughout the four-day celebration.
Thumbnail image of The color and movement of Bear Dance is exemplified by the youngest of dancers.
Thumbnail image of Filling the Bear Dance Corral, couples line dance in a synchronized rhythm, accentuated by the colorful fringes adorning the women’s traditional shawls.
Thumbnail image of A set of young Bear Dances kicked up dust throughout the weekend, drawing applause from the spectators both in and outside of the corral.
Thumbnail image of Young dancers stand with practiced patience as they prepare for a line dance with their peers.
Thumbnail image of Bear Dance Chief Matthew J. Box addresses attendees in the final hours of the Southern Ute Bear Dance.
Thumbnail image of Dancers Form a line with their chosen partners.
Thumbnail image of A young Bear Dancer shows focus during the line dance.
Thumbnail image of Young dancers pair up with their peers during the Bear Dance.
Thumbnail image of Dancers from all three Ute tribes make their way to Ignacio each year for the springtime celebration.
Thumbnail image of In the warm afternoon light, young dancers prepare to pair up for the day's last dance.
Thumbnail image of Catman Shane Seibel keeps a close watch on the dancers.
Thumbnail image of Girls, each wrapped in a colorful shawl, eagerly await the opportunity to pick out their dance partners in this women's choice dance.
Thumbnail image of A traditional cradleboard shelters a newborn during the Bear Dance.
Thumbnail image of Dancers of all ages step in rhythm to the Bear Dance songs, including Southern Ute elder Kathleen Hatch.
Thumbnail image of Southern Ute Bear Dance singers bring rhythm to the Bear Dance.
Thumbnail image of Elders visit the Bear Dance corral to watch younger dancers and visit with relatives.
Thumbnail image of The swish of a woman's shawl represents the rhythm of the Bear Dance.
Thumbnail image of A pair of young women hold their partners tight during the Bear Dance.
Thumbnail image of Wooden growlers resonate on metal, creating Bear Dance music.
Thumbnail image of Keona Whitey steps in sync with the Bear Dance songs.
Thumbnail image of The warm light of late afternoon bathes dancers as they break into pairs during the final songs.
Thumbnail image of Girls line up with warm smiles, laughter and determination as they face their dance partners.
Thumbnail image of Young Southern Ute tribal member Neeka Ryder adorns a traditional dress and shawl for the spring Bear Dance.
Thumbnail image of
Thumbnail image of A young Bear Dancer in traditional clothing.
Thumbnail image of A well-dressed youth makes Bear Dance music, sitting alongside more experienced Ute singers.
Thumbnail image of Long lines fill the Bear Dance Corral on the final day of the Southern Ute Bear Dance.
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Since time immemorial, the Ute people have celebrated the time of year when winter gives way to springtime with the Southern Ute Bear Dance, a women’s-choice dance that takes place outdoors in the Bear Dance Corral over the course of four days. Following a more recent tradition, students of the Southern Ute Indian Montessori Academy were among the first to kick off the dancing on Friday, May 24. The weekend came to a close Monday, May 27 with a community feast and several hours of evening dancing.

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