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Women’S Traditional Dance

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      JUNE 1997      SPECIAL POWWOW ISSUE v27 n02 p28  
WOMEN'S TRADITIONAL DANCE

Women's Traditional Dance The Women's Northern Traditional Dance is a very dignified, graceful and modest dance that shows the strength, pride, respect and honour the women carry for their family, relatives and friends. There are usually three basic styles of Women's Northern Traditional Dance.

The first style is the stationary dance. This style originated with the Dakota/Nakota people in their small gatherings of long ago. The women would stand and bounce gently to the drum in honour of their family or relatives for whom the song was sung.

In these gatherings, the women would adorn themselves with their most elaborate quilled, beaded and decorated dresses and accessories. The outfit was personal and was created through dreams or traditional family designs. These dresses symbolized the industry, patience and steadfastness a woman must possess to complete such an enormous project.

Secondly, in the Grass Dance Society, the women danced in what is known as the circle dance, round dance or side step dance. This dance is still performed as part of competitions of today.
        
In the third style, the women gracefully dance in a zigzag pattern around the edge of the arena. Their dance is in time with the drum-beat.

Most women dancers today carry a fan usually made of eagle feathers. On the down beats or honour beats of the song, the women may raise their fan gracefully to show respect and honour as they dance.