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A Hopi Snake Dance exhibit at Denver's Museum of Natural History.

A Hopi Snake Dance exhibit at Denver's Museum of Natural History

You can learn the story behind a well-known but little understood native American dance in the Denver Museum's Lifeways Gallery, now through February.

The Hopi Snake Dance is the culmination of a nine-day private Snake-Antelope ceremony to bring rain and good health. Snakes--creatures also in need of rain in the arid desert climate--are spirit messengers. Dancers actually hold live rattlesnakes in a ceremony that has amazed spectators since the 1800s.

You won't see a live dance at the museum, but you will see a colorful exhibit that replicates a Hopi plaza. And you can look at priests' clothing and equipment, the reconstructed interior of a kiva, and historic photographs and paintings while listening to background dance music.

The museum is open 9 to 5 daily; admission is $3, $1 for ages 6 through 12.
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Date:Oct 1, 1984
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