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The Ghost Dance was a religious movement incorporated into many of the Native American belief systems. The founder of the Ghost Dancing movement was a Paiute spiritual leader named Wovoka. Wovoka maintained that the practice of this religious dance would reunite the living with the spirits of the dead. He also preached that the dance would call the spirits to fight on their behalf, and eventually end westward expansion. It was meant to foster peace, prosperity and unity to the Native Americans. It was a very dramatic time for the difficult relations between the Indian nations and the American government. To many, the Ghost Dance represented resistance to U.S. Indian policy and American culture and was a rallying point for preserving traditional Indian culture.
Ghost Dance was composed as the obligatory second round piece for the Phoenix Music Competition 2021 for duets. It includes certain special extended techniques such as half-valved glissandos, note bending, fingernail tapping on the bell and singing harmonics. The 4 1/2 minute work also demands a highly tuned ability of the players to perform intricately as one player.