In the Yup’ik culture, we embrace each other with a warm and welcoming greeting by offering a hand to shake accompanied by the exclamation, “Cama-i!”
It is in that same spirit we announce that a Cama-i Dance event is arriving soon! The two-day event is sponsored by the SouthWest Alaska Arts Group (SWAAG) and starts Saturday, March 26th with doors opening at 11:30 AM, and ending Sunday March 27th at 9pm.
There will be world-class crafts from local and regional artists, a fur fashion show, panel discussion for a new book, “Ircenrraat: Other-than-Human Persons”, and traditional dancers who will share their history through dance and music.
The theme for this year’s festival is “Cangerliim Nalliini – During a Pandemic”. It is customary for a Cama-i event to dedicate the event to an inspiring individual and pay tribute to the memory of an individual whose legacy helped to shape and preserve our cultural traditions in the delta. This year, the event is dedicated to all who have lost their lives to COVID-19 and honoring our living treasures: all who are doing their part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by masking up & are vaccinated.
We intentionally called this event, “Cama-i Dance” and omitted the usual “Festival” because it will be a scaled-down version of the Cama-i that everyone has become accustomed to. Our planning team has risen to the challenge of creating an event that is both unique and safe, striving to maintain the “spirit of the dance”.
Please take note of these additional changes to minimize confusion during the event: this event will be two days, instead of the usual three. It will be held at the Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center, so seating will be limited. This event is broken down into 4 sessions, 2 sessions on each day (schedule and list of groups at the following link). Admission for each session is $8 per person, and tickets are sold ONLINE ONLY at: https://bethelartscouncil.networkforgood.com/events/37756-camai-dance-2022
Only water and light snacks will be sold. Access to the artists selling crafts in the hall of the cultural center, as well as AVCP’s Museum space will be open to the public and free of admission. However, the access into the main event room for any of the 4 sessions will require a ticket.
Cama-i always strives to create an experience that is both entertaining and educational; aiming to celebrate our local culture, as well as transport us to different parts of the world through music and dance.
Performing local groups are: Qasgirmiut, Upallret, Yurartet, the Kuskokwim Learning Academy, Ayaprun Elitnaurvik, Gladys Jung Elementary, Bethel Regional High School, and the Delta Illusion Dancers. One adaptation that we have made as part of our COVID-19 mitigation measures is that we have pre-taped Ayaprun Elitnaurvik’s performance.
Additional Yukon-Kuskokwim region communities of Chefornak, Kwethluk and Napaskiak will also be joining us. This year’s guests representing the Pribilof and Aleutian Island communities are the Unangax Dancers from Anchorage. Other highlights include: the Underground Dance Company, a group performing Hip Hop and Street Style dancing.
The event will be live streamed on SouthWest Alaska Art Group’s YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKGVEhnYE5etbhtPaWgzNYQ
COVID-19 Mitigation Measures: the event requires everyone in the Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center be masked, with the exception of performing drummers and dancers.
Plan on joining us this year, as we celebrate resilience through dance!