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Women's Fancy Shawl Dance

The Women's Fancy Shawl Dance is one of the newest dances of Pow Wow. This dance originated in the southern-central United States. This dance symbolizes the life of a butterfly.

A butterfly lives a quiet life before it encloses itself in a cocoon. Once the butterfly is ready to emerge, it breaks free from the cocoon and blooms into a beautiful, fragile creature. The butterfly lives freely. Flying delicately around its habitat, it displays beauty and grace.
Women's Fancy Shawl dancers have beautifully intricate outfits. The dancer will wear a cape which is usually fully beaded. Also, they have matching leggings and moccasins, hairpieces and jewellery. Distinctive to the women's Fancy Shawl dance is the way in which they use their shawl as adornment, delicately draping it over their bodies.
It is in the movement of her body while she dances and the lightness of her dance steps that makes the butterfly come to life. A fancy shawl dancer dances to a fast drum beat as do the men's fancy dancers. A dancer shows gracefulness, endurance and agility as she moves in perfect beat with the drum. While she dances, her shawl sways and swirls in perfect harmony with her body; a butterfly flitting ever so delicately about the dance arena.

Source: Saskatchewan Indian June 1997 Special Pow Wow Issue v27 n02 p28-29.

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