Osage Ballet performers and Osage singers return from memorable trip

Staff Writer
Pawhuska Journal-Capital
Osage Ballet performers and Osage singers return from memorable trip

The Osage Ballet performed at the Festival of Families on Saturday evening around 7 p.m. at Logan Square in Philadelphia. Pope Francis arrived at Logan Square at approximately the same time as the Osage Ballet’s performance.

According to Randy Tinker Smith, the Osage Ballet director, the pope appeared at Logan Circle Square approximately 5 minutes before Osage Ballet began.

“Osages were setting their chairs around the drum as he rounded the corner. They were all on stage as the popemobile passed by the stage,” Smith said.

“Osage staff recorded the pope as he passed. As he traveled on Benjamin Franklin Parkway, around Logan Square, the audience members ran across the grassy hill to wave and catch a second glimpse,” Smith said. “About one minute later, the Osage Ballet began their performance. As the audience members heard the drum start, they migrated quickly back to the stage with excitement. Some members even exclaimed ‘I hear a drum beating!’”

Smith said, “I felt that the timing of the pope’s arrival just prior to the performance of the Osage Ballet, graced the Osages, blessing them as they went into performance of their opening scene praying to Wakonda (Creator).”

She described the scene: “We were on a lit stage above the crowd and we waved to the pope,” Smith said.

“Pope Francis gave us a return wave and it was a very exciting moment. We then began the ‘Prayer’ scene from our ballet. With the first beat of our drum, a huge crowd of people left the road where they had lined up to see his holiness, and began running to our stage. It was an amazing moment to experience on a global stage. Our performers were magnificent!”

Soon, the pope took his place on the main stage.

“We were close enough to record his arrival. We were honored to be allowed this close access to the pope and to be among the Festival of Families performers during the pope’s visit to Philadelphia,” Smith added.

Smith hopes to share photos, and possibly video, when she returns to Oklahoma this week.

The dancers performed the prayer scene from Wahzhazhe, an Osage Ballet, accompanied by the drum and nine Osage singers. The group, traveling by charter bus, arrived in Pawhuska on Monday evening.

Visit the Osage Ballet Facebook page for photos from the performance and visit to Philadelphia.