The Osage Ballet company will perform before Pope Francis next month at the Festival of Families in Philadelphia. Dancers will perform the prayer scene from the Wahzhazhe ballet which tells the history of the Osage people, according to Osage Ballet Director Randy Tinker Smith.
The Festival of Families was begun by Saint Pope John Paul II in 1992 for the purposes of strengthening the family unit. It's held every three years and will be September 22-27, 2015. The Osage Ballet company will perform September 26.
Smith said the Osage people have a long history with the Catholic Church first documented in 1673 when priests visited several Osage villages along the Osage River. Some tribal members were converted to Catholicism by the men they called "black robes," she said.
Smith said the dance company seeks to continue the legacy of the late Prima Ballerina Maria Tallchief and her sister, Marjorie Tallchief, both Osage women.
"Following the path paved by them, by telling the story of the Osage people through ballet seemed natural," she said in a news release.
"We are honored that Roman Jasinski, the son of Moscelyne Larkin, an accomplished Native American ballerina, of the Peoria and Shawnee tribes, will be one of the dancers to perform,” Smith said.
The Osage Ballet is accepting donations to help pay expenses for the trip to Philadelphia. You can learn more about the dance company and support their efforts at their GoFundMe page.