Apache Gaan Dancers by Linda Sparks

Apache Crown dancers, also known as Gaan (with various spellings) represent the four winds. The dancers paint their bodies white and decorate their costumes with bells. Each headdress or crown represents a specific wind. A fourth dancer wears a white headcovering.

Apache religion is cure oriented. It is based on the notion that a series of powers exist in the universe which may be acquired and used by man. One of the most potent of these powers is the power of the gaans. The gaans are supernaturals who live inside mountains and caves throughout Apache country and who manifest themselves as masked dancers during the gaan ceremony. They are often compared to pueblo kachinas who appear in much the same way.

The dancers are junior high school boys from San Carlos, Arizona, photographed at the Tumacacori Festival. The school teaches the Apache language and traditional customs as well as modern academics.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18

Sep 26, 2010 643 views

Featured in The Wild West Show 9/26/10
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After being widowed, I needed to find something new to occupy my mind. I chose photography. That turned into an obsession, compounded by my love of the artistic license provided by Photoshop and the many other artful programs that help us explore all the facets of turning a photo into art.

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  • Daniel J. McCauley IV
    Daniel J. McCa...over 5 years ago

    Very cool capture, Linda! I have a large b/w painting over my fireplace of Gaan Dancers! Terrific shot!

  • Thanks so much.

    – Linda Sparks

  • Kay Kempton Raade
    Kay Kempton Raadeover 5 years ago

    Oh what a privilege to see these dances, Linda. Just a Magnificent capture.

  • Thanks. Once they started dancing, I got good action but bad background, so I was lucky with this one.

    – Linda Sparks

  • Daniel J. McCauley IV
    Daniel J. McCa...over 5 years ago

  • YiPee!! Thanks so much.

    – Linda Sparks

  • Linda Gregory
    Linda Gregoryover 5 years ago

    Congratulations on your feature! Very well deserved.

  • Thanks. I think for the novelty not for the great image.

    – Linda Sparks

  • Di Jenkins
    Di Jenkinsover 5 years ago

    so great to see the culture continuing in the younger generations. Living History – wonderful!

  • I agree. thanks

    – Linda Sparks

  • Barbara Applegate
    Barbara Applegateover 4 years ago


  • Thanks so much

    – Linda Sparks

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