Native American Dance Styles

Dance is one of the most beautiful parts of Native American culture. Generations of Native Americans have developed a variety of dances for many different kinds of occasions. PowWows.com has compiled a list of Native American dances, complete with descriptions of their histories and more. Scroll down to start reading more about Native American dance!

Straight Dancing

The Straight Dance from Oklahoma Native American Tribes is a formal, tailored, prestigious form of southern dance clothes.   The overall effect is of reassuring solidity, with everything closely matched and coordinated.   It looks as if it is planned all at one time. This dance has evolved from the Hethuska Dances.   It is believed that the Ponca tribe of American Indians created this style.  The Hethuska are dances held by different ...

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Cloth Dancing

Ladies Cloth is a form of Native American women's dress and dance and has both a Northern and Southern style. The Southern style is danced by the Kiowas, Osage, Ponca, and others. The Northern style is danced by the Sioux, Crow, and others. The dance is a slow and graceful one much like the Women's Buckskin style. There are many variations among Native American Tribes with the outfit, including wearing a cloth dress or a ...

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Fancy Shawl Dancing

Ladies Fancy Shawl is the newest form of Native American Women's Dance, and is quite athletic! Fancy Shawl is often called Northern Shawl, as it does come form the Northern Tribes along the U.S. and Canadian Border. This is very similar in dancing and the bright colors to the Men's Fancy Dance. The ladies wear their shawls over their shoulders, and dance by jumping and spinning around, keeping time with the music. They mimic ...

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Buckskin Dancing

  One of the oldest form of  Native American Women's Dance is Buckskin. This is a dance of elegance and grace. The movement is smooth and flowing. The ladies wear fine, hand-crafted buckskin dresses, decorated with intricate bead designs. Northern dresses are fully beaded on the shoulders, or cape. Southern ones, the beadwork is mainly used to accent. They are equally beautiful. The women carry fringed shawls over one arm. Much like the Men's Traditional dance, there are many differences ...

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Fancy Feather Dancing – Native American Fancy Dance

The Oklahoma Feather Dance or "Fancy Dance" is one of the most popular styles of Native American dance and outfits seen at modern pow wows. The Fancy Dance outfit, as such, has no single Native American tribes. The "Fancy Dance" originated as Fancy War Dance by the Hethuska Society in Oklahoma. The individual who invented the dance was Gus McDonald. He was also the first World Champion Fancy War Dancer. The McDonald family, specifically ...

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Grass Dancing

Originally done as a Warrior Society Dance, it has evolved over the years. It has further evolved into a highly-competitive form of northern dancing. Grass Dancers always stands out by virtue of two things: his dancing style and his outfit. His dancing has been described often by these words:" gutsy, swinging, slick, old-time," etc. His outfit stands out by virtue of the almost complete absence of feathers, for aside from the roach feather, there are no bustles of any kind to ...

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Northern Traditional Dancing

The Northern Traditional Dancer is a modern evolution of tribal outfits from the tribes of the Northern Plains such as Sioux, Blackfoot, Crow, Omaha and others. Below is some information about the outfit's parts. It must be stressed that this is only a brief description as variations do exist from area to area and from tribe to tribe. Careful observation and research be undertaken before starting to construct this type outfit. On his head the Traditional Dancer wears a roach made ...

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Gourd Dancing

Gourd dancing is not a "pow wow style" of dance. Gourd Dances are held regularly by several groups especially in Oklahoma. Today the dance is being done at pow wows before, after, and between intertribal dancing. The dance was resurrected by the Kiowa Tribe. Several tribes historically held Gourd Dances including the Ponca, Kiowa, Comanche and Cheyenne. Today there are several Gourd Dance Societies or groups. The gourd is either a real gourd, or a stainless steel salt shaker or an evaporated milk ...

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Jingle Dancing

Jingle Dress is also called a Prayer Dress. There are differences in the origins of the dress among the tribes. The dress was seen in a dream, as an object to bring healing to afflicted people. It comes from the Northern Tribe Ojibewea or Chippewa, along the Canadian border. A Medicine Man's Granddaughter became very ill one day. In a dream, his spirit guides told him to make a Jingle dress for her and have her dance in it. This, he was ...

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Dance Styles

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Jingle Dancing

Jingle Dress is also called a Prayer Dress. There are differences in the origins of the dress among the tribes. The dress was seen in a dream, as an object …

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How to Mount Deer Toes – Craft Tutorial

  Deer toes have long been used as natural bells for dancers to keep rhythm with the drum. Some traditional men dancers are returning to this natural sound. Deer toes …

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