Call for Peace Drum & Dance Company

Call for Peace Drum & Dance Company (CFP) seeks to educate through the arts locally, nationally and internationally to promote a vision of humanity in the Circle Dance that embraces respect, balance, harmony and peace. The varied drum rhythms seem to reach back through time to the original roots of human life, finding the common thread that connects us all, while the ethnic expressions of those rhythms celebrate the diversity of humanity. The traditional dances mimic movements and elements of nature, demonstrating their origins in the natural, physical environment that surrounds us. They remind us that we are only a small part of the environment that nurtures and sustains us. The Circle Dance visibly embodies the global cooperation, respect and understanding that must lead the nations' peoples through the 21st century if there is to be a future for the children of the world. Call for Peace is a metaphor for that vision of a nonviolent world where all life thrives harmoniously.

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Call for Peace the Next Generation

In 2003, CFP recognized the need for their message to reach children in a more direct and efficient way, as youth hold the ability to create a new world of respect and peace in their hands. As a result, CFP launched Call for Peace the Next Generation (CFPNG), a group of youth performers who can relate to the younger audience members as peers. In a time when youth are plagued by having to face violence, prejudice and more, and studentsí opportunities to witness and participate in performance art are becoming increasingly rare, it is becoming crucial to expose youth to peers who celebrate our diversity with acceptance and express themselves creatively through the arts. For these reasons, CFPNG provides quality performance programs that inspire and fuel imagination and understanding among all audience members, actively encouraging youth to explore a new and significant means of creativity and communication.

CFPís youth performers have performed in and around Dane County, including such events as Kids for Peace Day at Madisonís Childrenís Museum (9/03), Celebrate Youth (11/03), the opening of the Hmong exhibit at the Madison Civic Center (1/04), International Days at the Madison Civic Center (2/04) and Wisconsin School Age Care Alliance Conference (4/04). Performances are showcased based on their relevance to particular age groups, and each performance opens with a message of peace, followed with drums and dance, highlighting over 10 possible individual cultural dances, and concludes with the spectacular Circle Dance that joins all artists in a powerful celebration of unity and harmony. In past performances, CFPNG has moved its audience to tears as it artistically revealed the common thread that connects all of humanity.

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Talking Stick/Talking Circle: Youth, Nonviolence, Mediation & Teambuilding

For over 10 years, the Call for Peace Talking Stick/Talking Circle program has been providing participants with an open and accepting communication forum, receiving support and acclaim from both educators and parents in the Madison Metropolitan School District and throughout the greater Wisconsin area. During the workshop, participants make and decorate their own talking stick from natural materials (shells, feathers, rocks, etc.) provided by the facilitator and either a stick they have brought with them, or one the participants find outside, that is representative of their individuality and life story. Participants learn about the tradition surrounding the talking circle and use the circle to discuss problems they all share, the environment, conflict resolution and things that are important to their future. Only the individual holding a marked feather is allowed to speak during the project, and the feather is passed continuously until everyone who wishes to speak has done so. If the group is working with a conflict, the talk continues until consensus can be reached and all participants are asked to respect the solution, as they helped to reach it together and agreed to it without coercion. Participants learn how to use the Talking Stick and the Talking Circle to resolve interpersonal, inter-group, intra-group, and other conflicts in a nonviolent manner. The activity works to empower participants through positive communication based on respect: everyone has a voice, all voices are unique and all voices are important. The talking stick ensures that no one voice will prevail over others.

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Cultural, Communication and Teambuilding Workshops

Art Shegonee, a member of the Menominee and Potawatomi tribes of Wisconsin, is an experienced performer, teacher and peacemaker. An ambassador of Milwaukee, Wisconsinís Indian Summer and Call for Peace Drum & Dance Company, Shegonee specializes in teaching tools of respect, nonviolence, conflict resolution and peace. Art has provided over 400 schools, libraries, businesses and community centers educational programs that demonstrate and teach traditional Native American dance and history, positive communication skills and more. He is also the founder of the Call for Peace Talking Stick/Talking Circle program, and has worked with groups of all ages to teach the program as a means to resolve conflicts respectfully, peacefully and cooperatively in a traditional Native American way.

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