Patricia Bulitt

Dancer 
Interdisciplinary Artist 
Storyteller
Teaching Artist

Dance Ethnologist & Special Exhibitions
Beginning in 1979, Patricia Bulitt brought her tape recorder to Alaska as part of her Dancer- In- Residence tours throughout the state, which had begun in 1977.  Seeking out traditional dancers, and recording interviews was the centerpiece to her long association within communities as a welcomed dancer researching traditional dance.
In 1981, accompanied by Photographer, James Barker, Patricia returned to the village of Hooper Bay, Alaska on the coast of the Bering Sea to perform and teach dance.  Residents remembering  Patricia's first residency in 1978 extended a warm welcome.  Elder dancers and drummers performing a Yupik Dance in exchange for the dance given by Patricia, began the long association from 1981 to the present.
Pictured: Neva Rivers of Hooper Bay, Alaska
"Sewing "gut" from dried seal intestine, dried and sewn for a parka.
Photograph by Patricia Bulitt, copy right, 2009.
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The sunlight of that Springtime fell across the bedroom where Neva was sewing.  Her needle and thread sewing not only the "gut," but our friendship, for this was the final visit I had with Neva before she died in 2013.


In 1981, Neva gave me my first Eskimo Dance as a gift.  Speaking as the children in the village do with respect to dances being " gifts."  Children would say to me, " thank  you for giving us a dance.  The dance which Neva gave me was the very first dance she learned as a child in her village.

Below is a photograph of Patricia holding the "gut" parka sewn by Neva Rivers in 1983 for Patricia's dance and storytelling inspired by her experiences in Hooper Bay, Alaska. 
Sewing dried seal "gut" by Neva Rivers for gut skin parka.  Photograph by Patricia Bulitt, 2009, Hooper Bay, Alaska ( Copyright:  Patricia Bulitt)
Their Eyes Have Seen The Old Dances:  Exhibition Honoring Hooper Bay Elder Dancers and Drummers:  1981-2001 with photographs by James Barker and field recordings collected by Patricia Bulitt, Hooper Bay, Alaska.
As Project Director for the exhibition, all the images in the exhibition were voted on by residents of Hooper Bay.  Selections of the words from field recordings with residents collected by Patricia Bulitt  are presented with the black and white photographs by James Barker, Photographer.

BACKGROUND:  In May, 1981 Patricia and an elder drummer organized the first community Eskimo Dance in the community held at the Traditional Council Hall in the village where residents remembered old dances and songs nearly lost to progress.  As there had been no community dance in some years, this was memorable event for drummers and dancers pieced together the fragments of song and dance .  Patricia recorded the event onto cassette tapes and James photographed the momentous Eskimo Dance into community life.

Community events such as Eskimo Dances, and " A Parka For Memory:" Youth Listening to Elders, storytellers to the schools and a celebration for the community as a opening reception for the exhibition were organized by Project Director, Patricia Bulitt.

The exhibition was funded by Alaska Humanites Council, Nancy H. Gray Foundation for Art In the Environment, and many individual contributions.



The exhibition is currently a permanent exhibition in the new Youth Elder Building in the village. 
"Our Neighbors Dance Their Dances:"A Celebration Of World Dance  >Project Director:  Patricia Bulitt

Beginning in 1989, partnering with the City of Daly City Recreation Programs, and sponsored with a grant from Peninsula Community Foundation, Patricia researched throughout the community, locating dancers from cultural traditions to share their dances with children from outside the cultural group.  Located in after-school programs, free dance classes were given in Filipino, African Haitian, and Chinese Dance.
Celebrating dance, free community concert featured the dancers and children's performances in Daly City.

Collection of oral history interviews by Patricia with photographer, Gary Sinick, "dancing/words/talking" was produced as exhibition of photographs and excerpts from the interviews. 

This project continued for 10 years in Berkeley, California, in association with the City of Berkeley, Recreation Programs providing fee dance classes in world dance traditions in north and south Berkeley.

Family storytelling sessions: " Remembering Our Neighborhoods"
Master Classes for children with professional dancers
Oral history interviews collected by Patricia Bulitt with all dance teachers.
Free community dance concerts at each of the community centers.
"Remembering To Dance:" Free day of dance classes to the public.

Honoring Ten Years! City of Berkeley sponsored this dance concert at
Live Oak Theatre, Live Oak Park to a sell-out audience.

The oral histories with national and international dance artists is the first collection of East Bay dancers in world dance traditions and American dance forms.

2014: "dancing/ word/talking:" exhibition at Berkeley Public Library,
Central Branch.