men and boys compete in Fancy Dancing, Grass Dancing and Traditional Dancing.
The women and girls compete in Fancy or Shawl Dancing, Jingle Dress and
TRADITIONAL NORTHERN STYLE DANCE represents a warrior scouting
before a battle. Their regalia includes a single bustle, usually
of eagle feathers, a porcupine roach with a single eagle feather, ribbon
shirt, bone hair pipe choker and breast plate, breech cloth, leggins, short
angora anklets with sheep bells above them, beaded cuffs, belts, arm bands
and moccasins. The dancer carries a dance staff and a fan usually
made from the wing of an eagle. Everyone should stand, and men should
remove their head coverings unless it has an eagle feather, during this
dance out of respect to the dancers and the eagle feathers they wear.
MEN'S FANCY DANCE originated in Oklahoma. These dancers
are noted for their fast footwork, ahtletic ability and originality.
The large double busties of brilliant colored feathers distinguish these
dancers from other types. Their regalia includes angora anklets with
sheep bells fastened above them, ribbon shirt, beaded yoke, belt, arm bands,
cuffs and headband. The dancers also wear a porcupine roach on their
heads which has one or two feathers attached to them in a spinner.
GRASS DANCE gradually evolved into the Pow Wow. As Indians
began to live on reservations they had more time to devote to non-survival
activities and dancing became increasingly important. These celebrations
were strictly social events until the 1920's when "Contest" dancing became
popular. Many local communities still hold social Pow Wows but, the
majority of them now involve contest dancing where dancers compete for
JINGLE DANCE comes from the Ojibway Nation. It was popular
from 1920 to 1950 and is currently experiencing a strong revival across
the nation. The Jingle Dress is made from a fabric such as cotton
or taffeta and numerous "jingles" attached to it. These jingles are
made from snuff can lids. The distinctive sound they make represents
waves of water or thunder and is gooid luck because it scares away the
evil spirits. Moccasins, leggins, beaded or concho belts, neck scarf,
bad and an eagle tail or wing fan completes the regalia. Jingle Dancers
are judged on their grace and traditional footwork.
FANCY OR SHAWL DANCERS wear dresses made of a light weight shiny
fabric such as taffeta. Their leggins are made from the same fabric
or from buckskin. Beaded belt, barrettes and hair ties finish the
apparel. Most important is the shawl which is worn over the shoulders
and held out as the dancer steps and twirls. The legend behind the
Shawl Dance is of a butterfly who lost her mate in battle. Grieving,
she went into her cocoon (shawl) and traveled the world over stepping on
each stone until she found beauty in one and was able to behin her life
ROUND DANCE is a social dance that all dancers and spectators
may participate in. It is done in a clockwise circle stepping to
the left in time to the drum beat. Sometimes this is done as a Friendship
Dance with two concentric circles moving in opposite directions with people
shaking hands as they pass each other.
INTERTRIBAL DANCE is a non-contest song that all dancers may
participate in. Everyone is welcome to dance, but women should wear
dance shawls if not in regalia.
BLANKET DANCE is done for a specific purpose such as defraying
travel expenses of a special performance group. Several of the Royalty
dance around the edge of the Arbor with a blanket outstretched between
them to collect monetary contributions.