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Based on tradition and teachings, the jingle dress is believed to come from a man from the Lake woods area whose daughter was ill. In this man's vision, the jingle dress was made of shell. The meaning of his vision was for the dress to be given those who believed in a traditional way of life. The dress was to be given for the purpose of healing.
The jingle dress is a medicine dress. If a woman chooses to take on this dress, she must be ready for the responsibility that it entails. The jingle dress should be honoured with fasting and feasting.
Today, the jingle dress is made up of cones. These cones are usually made from soup lids or copenhagen lids. However there are still some people who use shells.
There are two types of dances that accommodate this style: straight dance and the side-step. The dancing style of the individual is one of low steps, not high steps. Dancers do not perform complete spins like the fancy shawl dancers.
In today's powwow world, we are witnessing another classification of dance within the jingle dress dance. The jingle dress dance can now be classified in the traditional or contemporary style.