Yu'pik dancer Maryann Sundown passed away this week.
October 28, 2011 10:24 AM   Subscribe

Maryann Sundown, a master of Yu'pik dance, passed away this week at her home in Scammon Bay, Alaska. (second article) Sundown was a crowd favorite at the Cama-i Dance Festival, often making jabs at popular culture to great comedic effect. Even though her dancing slowed over the years, she still lit up the stage, even at her last performance at 92.(Maryann Sundown with the Hooper Bay Dancers)

Yu'pik dance is an important piece of the Native community in Southwest Alaska. This artform is alive and vibrant, growing and adapting as dancers play with the music and the dance. Humor integrated into the dance is a common element. Even the great tradition of Yu'pik dance masks can take a modern twist.
posted by Foam Pants (8 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

Thank you for a wonderful post.
posted by spitbull at 11:02 AM on October 28, 2011

This is a GREAT post. Thank you for sharing. I didn't know about any of this.

Rest in peace, Ms. Sundown.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 11:15 AM on October 28, 2011

Wow she was beautiful.
Thank you for sharing.
posted by SLC Mom at 12:47 PM on October 28, 2011

Besides keeping their cultural traditions alive, the Yup'iks have also retained their language much more than many Native American groups. I've called the office of a Yup'ik organization on a holiday when they were closed. Their answering machine message explaining the closure went on first for about a minute in Yup'ik, followed by a shorter summary in English.

(Foam, you misspelled "Yup'ik" – the apostrophe goes after the p, indicating gemination.)
posted by D.C. at 2:31 PM on October 28, 2011


D.C. Cor. That's why it looked wrong.
posted by jlkr at 10:09 PM on October 28, 2011

You're talking to the person who got knocked out of the 3rd grade spelling bee by spelling kitchen: C-H-I-C-K-E-N. My misspelling stuff seems to be inevitabel.
posted by Foam Pants at 11:36 PM on October 28, 2011

posted by Twang at 12:23 PM on October 29, 2011

My eyes have been opened to something new and wonderful. Thank you.

(what a terrific life this woman lived--so much joy)
posted by kinnakeet at 1:14 PM on October 29, 2011

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