Jeffrey Gibson, She Never Dances Alone: Midnight Moment | Times Square, NYC
A multi-channel video created specifically for the screens of Times Square, She Never Dances Alone (2019) is Gibson’s celebration of the Indigenous matriarchy, centering on the jingle dress dance, a powwow dance that originated with the Ojibewea tribe and is traditionally performed by women to call upon ancestors for strength, healing, and protection. As Sarah Ortegon, an acclaimed jingle dress dancer and Miss Native American USA 2013–14, performs in handmade dresses adorned with jingles or rows of ziibaaska’iganan (metal cones), the swaying colors, textures, and patterns pop against a black background and fold into kaleidoscopic abstractions. Ortegon’s image multiplies within each screen and across the plazas, creating the impression that many women have come together to dance over Times Square. The video ends with a close-up of Ortegon’s face after she has stopped dancing, calming her breath as she stares intently ahead—and at the people watching from below.