Nature of the Dance – Men’s Fancy and Northern Traditional

I would like to share a few more images taken at the American Indian Center’s 63rd Annual Chicago Powwow.  The costumes and dances were of particular interest to me and luckily the weather was perfect for bringing out all the colors on display.

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One of the categories in competition dancing is Fancy.  The dance originated in Oklahoma and requires considerable agility and endurance. The costumes certainly live up to the name, being extremely elaborate with feathers, ribbons, bells and all kinds of brightly-colored accoutrements. It is said that the dance may represent warriors preparing for battle.

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Although not quite so flamboyant, the costumes worn for the Men’s Northern Traditional dance are still considerably ornamented and are most impressive. The costume may include an Eagle feather bustle, bone bead breastplate, leggings, beaded moccasins and ankle bells. The dancer sometimes carries an Eagle feather fan, pipe bag or dance stick and paints his face to represent a traditional family or national emblem.

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There are several different interpretations of the dance which is thought to either represent a warrior recounting his feats in battle or searching for his enemy while other stories mention a hunting or gathering role. Some of these dancers look quite fearsome so I’m guessing it has more to do with the fighting aspect.

 

 

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17 thoughts on “Nature of the Dance – Men’s Fancy and Northern Traditional

    • Thank you and thanks for stopping by. I first became interested in the American Indian culture more than fifty years ago when I lived in England. The first book I ever took out of the library when I was a young schoolgirl was about American Indians. The Chicago Powwow was the first time that I was able to witness first-hand these beautiful costumes and dances.

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