The Acoma Learning Center established the Acoma Rain Dancers Dance Group in January 2013 after a request was made by youth patrons for an after school activity. The staff decided to organize a youth group aimed at increasing involvement in traditional activities and spirituality. Through this group, the children have learned to pray and now understand the meaning of prayer in dance. The children find great joy by bringing smiles to the audience and are always surprised to be praised by random people. The Acoma Rain Dancers is a unique group because it solely involves young children, ages 3 to 13, and their parents. The fathers of the children sing and the mothers play a key role in getting the children dressed and ready. The children come up with the choreography and choose the songs they want to dance to. The group will be performing a traditional rainbow dance which is a pueblo social dance. It is said that the children hold the most power, so their dancing and singing are heard by the spirits to bring moisture to the land and good health and fortune to all the people around the world, not only native people.
The Oak Canyon Dance group was started by Julian Fragua and his brother Odell Fragua. The brothers were inspired by their experiences with their grandfather and his cousin, dancing at various places when they were young. The Oak Canyon Dancers are a family dance group that consists mostly of Julian and Odell’s children and immediate family. The name, Oak Canyon, is their clan name in the pueblo, which is passed down from the mother’s side. All of the dances are performed by the children, ages 9 to 14, and are accompanied by live native singing and a pueblo drum. Some of the dances that the Oak Canyon Dancers perform are the eagle dance, the shield dance, the buffalo dance, the butterfly dance and the plains native traditional dance. The eagle dance honors the eagle for being a huge part of their culture. This dance symbolizes the blessings of their people giving them strength, courage and spiritual healing. The shield dance symbolizes the warrior and the brave men in their tribe who protected their people. The shield dance honors these strong, courageous men and also the brave men and women who serve our country and protect our nation. The buffalo dance symbolizes their honor of the great Bison which gave them large amounts of meat for nourishment, hide for clothing, shelter, blankets, drums, and bones for tools that were needed for daily living. The butterfly dance symbolizes the growing and entering into summer, and the plains native traditional dance, which comes from the plains native culture, is a dance for completion and is an inter-tribal dance at pow-wows.