Back in Action

Hoop dancers from Lightning Boy Foundation return to the Plaza

“This [pandemic] has been harder for our kids than I’ve ever seen or experienced,” Felicia Rosacker-Rivera, director of the Lightning Boy Foundation, tells SFR. “We had to do Zoom classes with most kids the past year, and the kids always have Zoom fatigue after school. A lot of this past year has had to be dancers doing their own thing and keeping us updated.”

Despite the difficulties, including how Indigenous communities have been hit disproportionately hard by COVID-19, the organization’s upcoming performances on the Plaza and elsewhere herald a positive point for the youth dancers—albeit a masked and socially distant one.

The Lightning Boy Foundation focuses on traditional hoop dancing and tribal youth, with dancers and instructors mostly hailing from Northern New Mexico pueblos. The organization began in 2017, following the untimely 2016 death of Rosacker-Rivera’s son, Valentino Tzigiwhaeno “Lightning” Rivera (Tzigiwhaeno, Valentino’s Tewa name, means lightning) at 8 years old.

“It was originally a healing ceremony, not performance, and the ceremonies were performed with willow hoops,” Rosacker-Rivera explains. “Nowadays the dancers use PVC pipe. We still try to approach [the dance] for its traditional healing purposes.”

According to Rosacker-Rivera, the emphasis on various Indigenous traditions helps youth form a better understanding of themselves and the cultures they inhabit, as well as those around them.

“For the kids, having that community is very important,” Rosacker-Rivera continues. “We’ve got tribal youth from a lot of areas, from the Navajo tribe and one from the Mohawk tribe of New York State. This is how they can connect with each other.”

Dancers from the Lightning Boy Foundation perform on the Plaza on Saturdays and Sundays from 3-5 pm this summer, in addition to recurring biweekly performances at the Ojo Santa Fe Spa Resort. The organization was also one of the recipients of the 2021 Mayor’s Excellence in the Arts Award.

Rosacker-Rivera hopes those who attend will leave with a deeper understanding of hoop dancing traditions, as well as why its proponents continue the age-old practice.

“I always love it when we get a big crowd,” she says. “I hope people come out and try to get a new perspective on Native American dancing. Come out and see what our kids can do.” (Riley Gardner)

Lightning Boy Plaza Hoop Dancing: 3-5pm, Saturdays, May 8 and Sunday May 9. Free (donations encouraged)
Santa Fe Plaza, 163 Lincoln Ave.


If you’re somehow one of those people who has just never seen a drag show, kindly rectify that mistake ASAP. Drag is one of the most creative and downright fun art forms around, and when it comes to a troupe like Albuquerque’s SAINTS BALL, the ante only ever seems to go up. This week, on Thursday, the avant-garde group engages in virtual Zoom discussion with form & concept gallery director (and former SFR contributor) Jordan Eddy. Then, on Saturday, SAINTS BALL performs in the gallery’s Living Room exhibit, a group show dedicated to the idea and ideals of queer chosen family. Look, we know we’ve been mentioning form & concept kind of a lot lately, but the shows at the space right now are hot, hot fire. (Alex De Vore)

SAINTS BALL Virtual Talk: Noon Thursday, May 6. Free.

SAINTS BALL Performance: 2 pm Saturday, May 8. Free.
form & concept,
435 S Guadalupe St.,


Did you hear the one about how Tumbleroot Brewery & Distillery built an outdoor stage to help usher live music back to a thirsty Santa Fe? Well, it happened (and Tumbleroot already had one of the better stages in town), and the small engagement shows are already rolling. Case in point—DJ Pygar, a mysterious being with roots in Holland, South Africa and, we hear, the multiverse. Because of that, we’re not even sure if he’ll be him (if you catch our drift), but word on the street is that if you’re looking for sci-fi super jamz and dance tunes by which to dance after a year spent watching Hulu, Pygar’s your huckleberry. Can we also say we appreciate Tumbleroot’s efforts to get us all rocking safely? Maybe things are looking up after all. (ADV)

DJ Pygar: 6 pm Friday, May 7. Free.
Tumbleroot Brewery & Distillery,
2791 Agua Fria St.,

You Are Now Entering...

...The Twilight Tone, which is to say you SHOULD enter The Twilight Tone, a livestreamed concert event on Twitch-dot-com from Santa Fe Community College audio educator Jason Goodyear and this year’s cohort of students from his classes.Year after year like musical clockwork, Goodyear trains up a new batch of music software masters. Teaching the ins and outs of programs like Ableton Live and Reason, Goodyear not only fosters DJs and electronic weirdos, but has spawned generations of potential producers, tweakers, audiophiles, et al. Why is this so important? Because we want music to sound great, and because those people in Goodyear’s class who might just become the next big thing will be showing what they’ve learned, what they’ve written and why computers can be a musician’s best friend. Drop the beat. (ADV)

The Twilight Tone: 7 pm Tuesday, May 11. Free.