The repetitious thud of a buffalo hide drum pounded through the Zephyr Cove Elementary School cafeteria Monday, as five Native American performers sang and danced in customary decorative regalia.
In the audience, kids moved their heads to the contagious beat or slapped their knees in rhythm.
“Our people say the drum is the heartbeat of our people,” Narrator Edmond Nevaquaya told about 150 students.
The Lakota Sioux Dance Theatre, founded in 1978 in South Dakota, performed a variety of dances during the course of the program, as Nevaquaya told a number of Lakota Indian stories passed down through several generations.
Nevaquaya said the group’s hope is that kids walk away with a better understanding of the resilient Lakota Sioux culture.
“It’s still alive,” he said after the show, “and we’re still carrying on today.”
The Lakota Dance Theatre has appeared at venues around the world including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., the Olympics and the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian.
It is visiting several South Shore schools to perform this week, and it started Monday with George Whittell High School and Zephyr Cove Elementary.
On Friday, the group will hold a public performance at Lake Tahoe Community College’s Duke Theater. Curtains will open at 7 p.m.
Tahoe Arts Project, a nonprofit organization, is presenting the event. Tickets can be purchased through the organization or from the California and Nevada Visitors Center. Tickets cost $12 for adults, $8 for seniors and $5 for youth in high school and younger.
Fifth-grader Kyle Ford, 11, said he enjoyed several aspects of the show Monday, such as watching “the grass dance” and listening to the drum.
“I liked how they had their (regalia),” he said, “and how they designed it.”
For students, the performance is a rare, up-close glimpse into Native American culture, said Nancy Cauley, Zephyr Cove Elementary principal.
“It’s special because a lot of kids aren’t going to have that exposure,” she said.
College Faculty Honored for Excellence
Two Lake Tahoe Community College instructors were recently honored for their exceptional work in the classroom.
Students selected English instructor Michael O’Laughlin as their Teacher of the Year, and fellow faculty members chose Sociology and Anthropology instructor Dr. Scott Lukas for the Distinguished Faculty Award.
Both winners will receive a $1,000 award from the LTCC Foundation.
Straight A students receive free ski passses
Sierra-At-Tahoe and Lake Tahoe Unified School District have teamed up once again to issue free ski passes to 284 straight A students.
The program that awards free ski passes to students who achieve a 4.0 GPA for two consecutive trimesters has carried on for about 15 years, officials said.
Letters went out in September to the students who earned the free pass in the 2012-13 school year.
Elementary school holds elections
Zephyr Cove Elementary School held its annual Student Council Speeches on Sept. 26.
Students are nominated to run for eight council positions. This year, 16 of them ran for election and spoke in front of the entire school body in an attempt to attract votes.
When it ended, Elizabeth Krolicki was voted president, followed by Faith Galli as vice president, Giovana Cibulsky as secretary, Ava Campbell as treasurer, Jan Harrison as historian, Hailey MacIntire as artist and Jacob Stackpole and Lilly Dingman as representatives.