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Old 11-17-2009, 02:11 PM   #1
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Straight Dance Mirror Boards

Can anyone share any information on mirror boards? Is there a functional purpose behind them? When did they become popular hand items? Is there a notable difference between the mirror boards used by northern traditional and southern straight dancers?

I've noticed that in my experience I'm seeing fewer and fewer mirror boards being carried by straight dancers. It seems that the tail stick or dance stick is replacing it. Is that true out west as well?

I would appreciate any info you may see fit to share.

Thanks!
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Old 11-17-2009, 05:08 PM   #2
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Historian, are you out there? I suspect you will have both an answer and lotsa nice pictures to answer this one.

Anyways, for about two years I was the only person that I knew who carried a mirror board up north here, and even traveling south didn't seem 'em much unless it was kids. The tail stick has pretty much taken over...
Contest judges out there, how 'bout some point deduction if you are carrying a stick and are not an actual tail dancer?
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Old 11-17-2009, 06:36 PM   #3
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by legalstraight View Post
Historian, are you out there? I suspect you will have both an answer and lotsa nice pictures to answer this one.

Anyways, for about two years I was the only person that I knew who carried a mirror board up north here, and even traveling south didn't seem 'em much unless it was kids. The tail stick has pretty much taken over...
Contest judges out there, how 'bout some point deduction if you are carrying a stick and are not an actual tail dancer?
havent seen many Nortern Tradish guys carrying mirror boards...Old skool Straight Dancers do,but you are right,a lot of the younger cats aren't using them unless they're kids.I DO see alot of Chicken Dancers with them,and used to see a lot of Grassers wit'em too,but a lot of these guys don't dance with anything in their hands nowadays....as far as differences in looks,they all look different to me,whether Northern or Southern,I think they are just personalized to the individual...keep smilin'1
p.s.....I actually like them.
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:43 PM   #4
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Well what I was told is the mirror board was a powerful tool, it could be used to signal to war parties across a great distance. Let members of the party know you were in place or when to attack whatever the signal was for.

Now as far as diffrences between northern and southern not sure you could tell I think its a personal thing and everyone is diffrent. I had some generalzations in mind but started looking at pictures and then those got blown out the window. The generalzations I had in mind were northern were more elaboratly carved and were often colored. But Like I said Started looking at some pictures I had and got blown out of the water. Saw some colored straight dance mirror boards, seen long ones, very elaboratly carved. So not sure you could tell.

And I mostly see dance sticks down here in texas seen a few guys carry both and a handfull carry mirror boards.
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Old 11-18-2009, 09:30 PM   #5
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i carry one. i'm not a taildancer.

edited to add:
well, today i was gifted a nice tail stick from one of my helushka friends. I guess i gots some beading to do.
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Old 11-20-2009, 03:47 PM   #6
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I had heard they were used for war as well. Signaling in particular. I have also hear the stories of mirror boards being used to do the following:
1) Attract the attention of a pretty shawl dancer or other desirable womenz sitting outside the arena.
2) Men are easily angered so at a dance where you are supposed to keep good feelings, men use the mirror boards to look at each other all sneaky like since looking directly at the other guy might cause a fight or something.
3) The reflective properties of a mirror are used to defend against medicine being sent against a person.

All of those were stories I have been told from various sources along the way. In my experience there is a degree of truth in all of them... some way more than others.

As for me, I have two mirror boards I carry (not at the same time!) and I have retired my tail sticks from when I first started. I have always been taught that straight dancers carry tail sticks so it is ok for all straight dancers to carry them. I choose not to out of respect for those that have the right. Now, as for contest judges knowing who is who... seems we have enough problems getting judges that know anything about the style! LOL!
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Old 11-22-2009, 05:07 PM   #7
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Another explanation that I was told a long time ago was that the mirror board had a relationship to the Thunderbird. The Thunderbird was a bird associated with war and also associated with storms. Lightning came from its eyes. The war dances used be held after the first thunder was heard in the spring. Mirror boards were carried as an association to the Thunderbird because the flashing of the mirrors was a symbolic representation of the lightning from the birds eyes. I cannot vouch for the veracity of this, but this is what I was told long time ago. Perhaps someone can add somthing to this.
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:35 AM   #8
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I recently got hold of a non mirror board which humors me and others. It has an elliptical hole in it where normally, a mirror would be. It is not missing a mirror. It was intentionally constructed with brass tacks inside the opening, and they would interfere with a mirror placement. I like to hold it up and look through it at whomever. I often get a surprised return look and/or a chuckle. The board is nicely made and with brass tack decoration.
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:39 PM   #9
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Thumbs up tail sticks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fat Albert View Post
I choose not to out of respect for those that have the right.
You're a good man Albert!

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I am NOT Indian. I have never been to India, nor has any of my family before me! I have met these people from India, of whom you speak, and I am nothing like them. Why do you call me an Indian?

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Old 11-28-2012, 09:39 AM   #10
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In addition to what has already been said, I can only offer the following Thread on the topic:
http://www.powwows.com/gathering/showthread.php?t=50004
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Old 11-29-2012, 12:39 PM   #11
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Mirrror boards

I noticed the photos I posted in the thread "wool & silk turbans" the dancer is holding a mirror board. I cropped to get a better look.
Attached Thumbnails
capture-mirror-board-front.jpg   capture-mirror-board.jpg  
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Traditions.....keep them and keep them sacred!

I am NOT Indian. I have never been to India, nor has any of my family before me! I have met these people from India, of whom you speak, and I am nothing like them. Why do you call me an Indian?

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