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Mar 9, 2021

This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra speaks with Tony Duncan — who is also known as Yellow Bird Dancing. Tony is an award-winning Native American flute player and hoop dancer who has performed on some of the world’s biggest stages, including the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Tonight Show, and even The White House. As a hoop dancer, Duncan is among the best in the world, winning the title of “World Champion Hoop Dancer” five times. Duncan is also an award-winning flute player, who is currently signed to the largest and oldest Native American music label, Canyon Records.

For Duncan, dance is more than artistic body movement — it is a way to keep his family’s rich history alive. Duncan considers it an honor to be able to use dance tell his family’s stories and educate others on the lives and ways of Native Americans. On the podcast, Tony goes into detail on his unique type of dance, discusses the symbolism involved in every aspect of his performance, and lays out his entrepreneurial journey — one filled with grit, determination, and family pride.


Moving Quotes:

"I try to tell people that Native Americans are very very much still here. Our culture is very strong — very vibrant. Our stories are still being told. Our ceremonies are still being done. That's a testament to the strength and resilience of our ancestors."

"One of the main reasons why I dance is because there's a great need to educate people on the true history of Native American people."

"For every occasion, there's a song. And for every song, there's a dance... When you're really into your dance form, you get lost of it. You go into another place — another realm."

"Every day is an opportunity to take a step forward with what you're trying to do."

"Whatever you're doing with your business, it's important to hear other people's stories."

"We dance as a way to pray — as a way to connect to our Creator."

"Any time of need — any time of despair — we turn to our dance. To that way of connecting to our Creator through dancing."


Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed:

4:10: Tony speaks to his family’s history in Native American hoop dancing and how he began performing professionally.

8:22: Tony discusses the significance of his Native American regalia and hoop colors.

13:00: Duncan explains how one of the main reasons he dances is to educate others on the rich history of the Native American people.

18:14: Tony shares his thoughts on why dance is such a formative and significant art for so many people.

22:36: Duncan explains how Tony Duncan productions got off of the ground and how his first recorded album broke him into the music business, paving the way for many more albums.

27:50: Duncan describes the earliest days of Tony Duncan Productions and how his professional success can only be attributed to his grit and determination.

34:53: Tony discusses what’s next for him — a large musical collaboration involving many voices and talents.


Bullet List of Resources – 

Tony Duncan