Tribal Dance Off! Pow Wow vs. Maori vs. Breakers

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown October 6th, 2014 Last Updated on: October 6th, 2014

A light-hearted dance battle broke at “Tekcno Pow Wow III” between three dance troupes. Seen in this video are members of the Ko Ngati Hiona Maori Culture Group of Salt Lake City, UT, Rocky Mountain American Indian Dance Group of Denver, CO and The Soul Mechanics Krew of Colorado Springs, CO. The event took place at the University of Wyoming this past Spring and the University of Wyoming Television crew was there to film the event.

Take a look below and tell me who you think won the dance battle!

For a little more background and how the event came about, read more from the University of Wyoming press release:

“’Tekcno Pow Wow III’ is an audience-participatory, multimedia, group performance art piece,” says Spang. “It’s a cultural mashup that brings together multiple dance forms including powwow dancing and break dancing, along with a powwow drum and a DJ, to explore how cultures interact and influence each other in the realm of creative expression.”

By creating a charged atmosphere that combines the live event essence of powwow and hip-hop/rave with performance art and video projection, Spang challenges dancers and audience members alike to “dance a mile in each other’s moccasins, sneakers, ballet slippers, or whatever the case may be” and, in so doing, gain valuable insight into one another’s lived cultural experiences.

He says the program challenges the notion that some cultures, in particular Native American cultures, are static.

“Everyone feels they know who native peoples are, and yet they continually put us in one time period,” Spang says. “You never hear ‘Indian’ and ‘future’ mentioned in the same sentence.”

Spang holds an MFA in sculpture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Montana College in Billings. He has taught at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and at Montana State University in Billings.

Funding from the Wyoming Excellence in Higher Education Endowment, awarded to the American Indian Studies Program, sponsors Spang’s residency at UW. A grant from the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund will partially sponsor the Tekcno Pow Wow.

I hope there will be more Tekcno Pow Wow's in the future. It would be great if it was a touring event!

Home » Native American Articles » Native American Culture » Tribal Dance Off! Pow Wow vs. Maori vs. Breakers

About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mare Boorman

This was awesome and fun. Really gave me to grin wide!
I am Canadian born and have natives in our family and live in New Zealand for over 30 yrs so it is a pleasure to see this and be able to relate to the both. Love the concept of walking in another man’s mocassins or bare feet! lol
Would be good to have more Maori’s in the challenge. Very good effort. Thanks so much for sharing this. 🙂
Best of luck for future touring and performances.

Anastasia Elizondo

If I may ask, what is on the announcer’s face?


I think it represents or is a luchador’s mask (Lucha Libre, Mexican wrestling). Not sure though, but it would make sense since it is both a fight and a colorful performance where fighters are also a kind of actors in their style.

A great idea, this dance competition, as the announcer-luchador mentions, would be the solution to end conflicts in a pacific way…

angry goblin

*fan for years*

angry goblin

This was incredible!! I have been a breakdancing, Pow Wow and later traditional Maori dancing for years! And to the other commenter, there were women dancers too! This should really become a national and international tour!

valerie Heilbron

Wow. But where are the women. In my dreams

Ls Clark

Why is the person in gold wearing black face? Very disconcerting to one who comes upon this without that information.


I believe it was purple, most likely to go along with that pink hat and goofy gold suit. He did say he was from the future after all.


Thanks, Aaron. That makes sense. I was completely puzzled.


This was truly beautiful, amazing, enlightening
and yet fun to watch and absorb all at the same time.

Sharon Shoemaker

I enjoyed watching this it was so much fun. I think they should have more dance off.


Cool…so wish they had some African Tribes involved. Would have been nice to see the similarities in one space and time.

Karla Iron

My son Kyce Iron really enjoyed taking part in this performance! Hope he gets another opportunity to do this again. It was an AWESOME event to witness!

Free Email Series: What to Expect at Your First Pow Wow