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Native American Dances

In: English and Literature

Submitted By trapwho1
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Fancy Dance
The Fancy Dance was known to be created from the members of the Ponca tribe in the 1920s.. By the 1920s and 1930s Native American dances were mostly banned so they created this dance to help preserve their culture and religion. This dance was appropriate to be performed for visitors on reservations and Wild West shows. Fancy Dance is a fast paced, color filled, energy bursting dance that requires some athleticism to achieve. When dressing for this dance it includes: feathers fringe and ribbons can be added to the outfit and headwear, beaded bodices, leggings, shawls, and moccasins.

Rain Dance
The rain dance is a ceremonial tribal dance that was performed to ask the spirits and gods to send rain for their crops. Normally this dance takes place during the spring planting season and before crops are to be harvested or when they are in desperate need for water. This dance is unique because men and women participate in this dance. Depending on a tribe’s ritual and costumes some may wear large headdresses while others may wear masks. Most tribes include paint on their bodies, beads, animal skins, feathers, and jewelry. This dance was performed in a zigzag motion instead of standing in a circle like most of the Native American tribal dances included.

Sun Dance
The purpose of the sun dance is to offer personal sacrifice as a prayer for the benefit of one’s family and community. This annual ceremony is normally performed at the summer solstice and can take up to a year of preparations. Even though all tribes has different interpretations of each dance the eagle is a central symbol in the sun dance. The eagle helps bring the body and spirit together in harmony. Another central theme in the sun dance is the use of the traditional Native American drum, praying with a pipe, offerings, and fasting.

War Dance
The war dance happened on the evening before an attack to observe certain religious rites to ensure success. This dance helped mix their emotions and filled their tribe with bravery and gave them all a profound reason to go into battle. The war dance included many different things, some tribes would sing from day to night with the interruption for prayer. Other tribes included dancing, paint on the body, handling sacred objects. There were only certain musical instruments used in this ceremony such as rattles, drums, and whistles.

Ghost Dance
This dance is a spiritual movement that started in the 1880’s when the tribes needed something to give them hope in their hard times. Its origin is set in a Paiute Indian named Wovoka, who said the messiah would come to earth to prepare the Indians for their salvation. Wovoka had a dream in 1889 during a solar eclipse. In this dream he said he was taken into the spirit world and seen all Native Americans being taken up into the sky and the earth opening up and swallowing all the whites and revert the earth back to its natural state. Then the Native Americans along with their ancestors were put back upon earth to live in peace as they once did. This would only come true if they did danced the round dance continuously.

Sun

Ghost

War

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