The Seasonal Dance Group from the Pueblo of Jemez (Walatowa) in north central New Mexico is led by Lawrence Toya who formed the group in 1990. Lawrence was a member of a Jemez Pueblo Dance Group in the late 1970’s, and his memorable dance performances include the New Mexico State Fair, where he met his wife Ruby N. Toya of Zuni Pueblo in 1979. She too was a member of a Zuni Pueblo Dance Group under the leadership of Chester Mahooty. They were married and began a family the following year. Influenced by their cultural heritage and love of song and dance, they wanted to teach their sons Glendon and Delvin to carry on the same cultural values.

The Seasonal Dance Group was formed to promote the cultures and languages of the Jemez and Zuni Pueblos, and the dance group is comprised of both Walatowa and Shiwi tribes. Aside from participating in tribal events throughout the year, the group also performs dances at many functions throughout the United States. These dances include the Buffalo Dance, Corn Dance, Rainbow Dance and the Eagle Dance.

These dances represent the seasons throughout the year. The Winter season is represented in the Buffalo Dance, a celebration dance for a successful hunt. The Spring Season is represented in the Corn Dance; a prayer dance for a successful crop. The summer season is represented in the Rainbow Dance; a prayer dance for moisture. The Fall season is represented in the Eagle Dance; a dance for harvest and greatness for what mother nature has grown. The dance asks the eagle to take the people’s prayers to the outermost stratospheres to ask the creator for many more cycles of this way of life.

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