Photos: Stage of Nations Ecofest Hosts Iroquois Smoke Dance in Syracuse

Alex Hamer /A young Iroquois dancer flashes a smile at the 2017 Stage of Nations held in Syracuse, New York.

Photos: Stage of Nations Ecofest Hosts Iroquois Smoke Dance in Syracuse

The Stage of Nations Ecofest in Syracuse allows thousands to experience authentic Native American music, dance, crafts, and foods

The annual Stage of Nations Ecofest in Syracuse, New York held a Smoke Dance competition that featured Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) dancers July 28 and 29, during ArtsWeek. The ecological-themed festival provides an opportunity for thousands to experience Native American music, dance, and crafts amidst vendors and educational tents about creating a more ecologically-sound environment.

Alex Hamer /Smoke Dance competition during Stage of Nations.

An enthusiastic and diverse crowd enjoyed Haudenosaunee Confederacy dancing demonstrations and social dances. Several dances included inviting the crowd to participate.

Alex Hamer /A social dance with crowd participation during Stage of Nations.

There were also performances from such entertainers as Pete Jemison and the Ganondagan Dancers, Ghost Town Ramblers and Irv Lyons Jr.’s band the Ripcords. Another crowd favorite was the performance of Mercedes Terrance who sang traditional songs with her hand drum.

Alex Hamer / Mercedes Terrance performing a traditional drum song at Stage of Nations.

The two-day event in Hanover Square has grown over the years and continues to educate and entertain people from all over the area. Lyons Jr., Onondaga, told Indian Country Media Network that he has been working hard on the event for years and this year’s turnout was exceptional.

While the men’s dancing is a bit slower with it’s roots going back to an old-style war dance it was the women dancers with their speed and spinning that garnered the loudest reactions from the crowd. All the dancers put on a solid performance and earned their spot to be on the stage.

Alex Hamer / The Iroquois women dancers were a crowd favorite at the 2017 Stage of Nations.

The winners of the Smoke Dance competition were Monique Powless in the women’s category and Chris Thomas in the men’s category.

Alex Hamer / The top three dancers in both the men’s and women’s category lined up on stage at the 2017 Stage of Nations.

Alex Hamer / Chris Thomas, Onondaga, men’s Smoke Dance Champion at the 2017 Stage of Nations.