What Do the Friendship Dance and the Rock Art from the Southwestern United States Have in Common

Many of the shapes of rock art from the Southwestern United States seemed to sing and dance. There anthropomorphic figures and animals all seemed to be formed from regular, geometric shapes. Even though they were depicting different beings, their unity of basic shape seemed to almost act as a driving rhythm for the artwork. In addition to this unity of rhythm in both artistic products, each seemed to have an overarching, celestial quality overlaid upon the foundation rhythm. In the Friendship Dance, this is accomplished by the various vocal tones produced by the singers. The austerity of the rock arts basic geometric shapes is likewise raised to a different plain by embellishments of a more abstract nature. These include sweeping arches over the heads of characters and lines that could almost be described as suggesting the movement of the figures.One difference between the two media is their feeling of accessibility. For me personally, the Friendship Dance seemed to be inviting me to come and join in some sort of festivity. The rhythm of the drums and the vocals, although foreign to my ear and understanding, sounded inviting and welcoming. On the other hand, the rock art was a wonder to behold but seemed very cold to me. It did not make me feel as though I would ever be a part of the world that it was depicting. While I appreciated the nature of the art, I came away feeling as though you really had to be a Native American to really get what the rock art was all about. On the other hand, I felt that the Friendship Dance had the ability to communicate across cultural divides.