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What Would You Bring?

a young man in traditional Navajo dress stands on a sandstone rock and holding a bow and arrow with the backdrop of Monument Valley Utah
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When you sign up for DANC 1010 at USU’s Blanding campus, you join a class that teaches inclusivity, respect, and belonging.

Dances in this class, called the Cultural Ambassador Performance Program (CAPP), are taught by the students and originate in the students’ own knowledge of their cultures. Some students even report using it to spend time with their grandparents to learn more about their heritage. The class is transformative for students and advisors alike.

The class began as a club in 2014 with just 8 members, but now hosts about 26 students each semester. Students may retake
the class for credit as each semester holds something new.

While Kody Smith (pictured) is wearing Navajo regalia, past performances have included dances from Hopi, Ute, Sioux, Apache, Philippine, Puerto Rican, Cambodian, Hawaiian, Tahitian, and Kenyan cultures.

Students also practice public speaking skills: The class is fully booked each semester at schools and various festivals where the students perform and communicate what it means to be a member of their culture. Authentic regalia is bought from the originating cultures, or students and advisors make the clothing themselves.

All students have something to bring to the class.

Photos and words by Levi Sim

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