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Old 04-26-2004, 04:27 PM   #1
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Southern Fancy?

I just returned from Gathering and I was disappointed to say the least...in the southern fancy category. Not the winners, but the dance style itself.
I took my mom out there and we were watching the pow wow and she made me take a second look at this category. She made me go waaaaayyy back and compare the southern style that I was seeing at GON to what we grew up seeing around home. I realized no one knows how to dance southern fancy anymore, with the few exceptions of the classics still dancing (joe bointy was the only one I saw dancing straight up southern)
My mom pointed out that southern fancy is a straight style of dancing....no hopping around, spinning and spinning and spinning. Now I know the old heads were acrobatic, but nothing I saw this past weekend could classify as acrobatic either. Ruffle dance is just what it says....they are supposed to ruffle their bodies and bells not hop around.
It was just a bunch of hopping and spinning, not dancing and movement, no ruffling. What ever happened to the PeeWee Clarks, Elmer Browns, Johnny Whiteclouds, Jr. Moore's and even the RG Harris' of the fancy dance? I think if you are going to dance southern fancy, you should study the style and learn how to dance it right...or else you look just like the northern dancers. I think people think if you can dance a ruffle song, cozad speed, then that makes you a southern fancy. LOL
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Old 04-27-2004, 10:03 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sltate
I just returned from Gathering and I was disappointed to say the least...in the southern fancy category. Not the winners, but the dance style itself.
I took my mom out there and we were watching the pow wow and she made me take a second look at this category. She made me go waaaaayyy back and compare the southern style that I was seeing at GON to what we grew up seeing around home. I realized no one knows how to dance southern fancy anymore, with the few exceptions of the classics still dancing (joe bointy was the only one I saw dancing straight up southern)
My mom pointed out that southern fancy is a straight style of dancing....no hopping around, spinning and spinning and spinning. Now I know the old heads were acrobatic, but nothing I saw this past weekend could classify as acrobatic either. Ruffle dance is just what it says....they are supposed to ruffle their bodies and bells not hop around.
It was just a bunch of hopping and spinning, not dancing and movement, no ruffling. What ever happened to the PeeWee Clarks, Elmer Browns, Johnny Whiteclouds, Jr. Moore's and even the RG Harris' of the fancy dance? I think if you are going to dance southern fancy, you should study the style and learn how to dance it right...or else you look just like the northern dancers. I think people think if you can dance a ruffle song, cozad speed, then that makes you a southern fancy. LOL
Sounds like your trip to GON this year was eye opening to you. Dang, I can just see you stepping on some Navajo's during the Buffalo Dance and seeing the difference in the fancy dance ...Southern Style. Your mom is a wise lady and there is a big difference in the way they dance today. Gone is the footwork, timing, and feeling you get dancing to a good song. Truth is, trying to show your stuff is almost impossible if you're trying to keep up with a drum beat. Some drums are just plain ridiculous and they should make singers/drummers get up and dance to their own drumbeat!!! I think judges should also be dancers or past dancers cause they always pick ones that are either the hometown favorite or someone that's never danced a day in their life. I think those days of seeing the "good dancers" are GONE. It's Rhinestones and $$$

Last edited by little sister; 03-22-2005 at 03:17 PM..
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Old 04-27-2004, 10:04 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sltate
I . I think if you are going to dance southern fancy, you should study the style and learn how to dance it right...or else you look just like the northern dancers. I think people think if you can dance a ruffle song, cozad speed, then that makes you a southern fancy. LOL
I quit fancy dancing in 1974. And i danced against everyone you mentioned. (except elmer)You are right on in this. Where do these people 'learn' to dance? If you do not spend time in OK. where do they see it...(This can go for any style of course, any tradtion.) I judged a small dance a few weeks back and had a hard time giving ANY places..got everyone mad at me ,cause I did not see ANY southern fancy 'dancers' just a lot of jumping beans!
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Old 04-27-2004, 05:35 PM   #4
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I'm hearing everything you all are saying - I think the exact same thing when I watch jingle dress dancers... there's a lot more to a good and proper dance than hoppin and glidin.

Come to think of it, that goes double for the Saasaakwe
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Old 04-28-2004, 11:26 AM   #5
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I agree, we have several dancers from OK that still dance southern fancy and do it really well. But, it was all of those who were in the category but not dancing the style that made me take a second look. All dance categories evolve, but this one( when you see it outside of OK) has just meshed with northern fancy. Graham P. danced really well, but did not place. Hopefully the younger generation will pick it up and study it and dance it to perfection. Otherwise, it is just going to be "men's fancy" and not southern fancy anymore.
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Old 04-28-2004, 03:23 PM   #6
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It is the drums fault ...there was a time when they knew enough to sing FOR THE DANCERS not themselves.
Fast; yes, but paced to dance to; to do footwork; etc.
Yes';I am not a fan of the new singers who beat the hell out the drum and do not know how to pace a song, much less a whole set. Who did they learn from? Where is a strong head singer to tell them how to behave...I got talked to plenty, got shut down a time or two...by strong men who knew what they were talking about. They were not mean about it..just determined to keep things in order.
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Old 04-29-2004, 11:19 AM   #7
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As I look at this thread, I wonder what early pioneers of fancy dancing such as: Charlie McGlashin, Henry Snake, Gus McDonald et al, would have said if/when they saw Elmer Brown do his famous cartwheels. Or what they would say when Johnny White Cloud did the splits. Or what they would say when Aukaboo New Rider brought his original Northern Style and won at Oklahoma Powwows. . .

Whether we agree or dissagree. . . change is inevidible. . . Especially when it relates to contemporary forms of powwow dancing.

___

But I also have to agree with what many of you have expressed. There seems to be a trend where there is no difference between Northern and Southern Fancy Dancing.

Spike (Draper) and Darryl (Jack) are champions in both divisions and basically use the same style in both categories.

Can you say southern fancy is now "Jack'ed up" *L (in a good way)!
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Old 04-29-2004, 11:42 AM   #8
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Who me...._I see this point...but there is a difference between adding elements to a developing style and abandoning it completly.
Just spinning and too too fast songs remove elements from the dance...maybe this is too fine a point, but I think the style is diminished for this....

But I also have to agree with what many of you have expressed. There seems to be a trend where there is no difference between Northern and Southern Fancy Dancing.
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Old 04-29-2004, 11:55 AM   #9
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The line between the two styles is vague nowadays. If they are going to have separate categories, that means they are defining the separate styles(like say...contemporary and original). When this is the case, then southern should be southern. There should be a distinction in the style. We all know what southern looks like, how it is danced.
As for the evolving of the style, yes it has evolved from the original style, but yet it is still southern.
Norman Newrider won all over indian country, but as a northern style fancy dancer...he never claimed to be a southern style dancer and say if back in the day the category was separated, would dance in the northern style. Even though he is from OK.
The point I am making is when the category is separate, then southern should be southern. Outrageous, I know...but maybe someone out there in cyberspace will agree with me. LOL Just a pipedream I know, but just hoping someone still knows the style and dances it to represent us from the south.
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Old 04-29-2004, 12:06 PM   #10
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[QUOTE=sltate] . . . southern should be southern. There should be a distinction in the style. We all know what southern looks like, how it is danced. . .

Norman Newrider won all over indian country, but as a northern style fancy dancer...he never claimed to be a southern style dancer and say if back in the day the category was separated, would dance in the northern style. Even though he is from OK.
[QUOTE]
___



Hmmmm? Hmmmmm?

Are Dwight (White Buffalo) and Graham (Primeaux) champion northern style Oklahoma fancy dancers? Should they enter the northern fancy division at Red Earth?

If they both moved to Connecticut. . . then would they be champion eastern northern-styled, southern fancy dancers?

ROFL!

*just messin' w' cha.

I get your point *L
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Old 05-01-2004, 12:42 AM   #11
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Good points everyone. I would have to agree with SLTATE
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Old 05-01-2004, 01:39 AM   #12
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anywayz.....now days southern/northern fancy dance styles are very much alike, here in the recent past years. I think it would be better to just have just one catagory instead of separate ones. Since no one has a real true 'southern' dance style. This style has faded out due in part to a number of things. Now you can call it "change" or "going with the times", or whatever you want, but here's a few things some of you probably already know about. Fancy dancing started because some young men wanted to express themselves in a different manner of dancing(everybody knows this). The legends WHOME listed probably would be freakin out at the way johnny or elmer danced(change). But remember, this "change" happened before these 190 mph songs. This is when fancy dancing was fun(back in the 60s-70s). Pure southern style. many many legends danced during this time, whom we all refer to until this day. These dancers became the legends they are because they could all DANCE. I mean footwork dance. No spinning, bouncing around doing nothing. Thats because the drum let the dancers dance. songs were only 3 sometimes 2 times through, but they danced maybe 3 songs( no bullet songs). With the songs these days.....i have to agree with STORM. Another point with the styles is...most of the people nowadays that judge mens southern fancy probably never seen johnny, elmer, woogie, garland, etc., dance before. Or even RG, joe b, billy mc., back in 80s-early90s. This goes hand in hand with the "change" thing. If a young judge thinks southern fancy is what Daryl or Spike or Dwight is doing, then thats what they will think. Nothing against these champions though, they all have some good moves. But i think everyone would agree, give these dancers a good medium song........and see who can REALLY dance. That would be a pipedream for real! These dancers wouldnt have to rely on flagging tape or long fringes or out of this world bright colors to be seen. It would all be based on the dancers body movements. I'm dreaming though. You would need the singers to agree with this. Fast songs get the spectator crowd going, but a real good song that makes the dancer dance their best, get the powwow crowd going. But for real, they need to just combine the mens fancy catagory. Because their is no set "southern" rule. Because as we all know, certain dancers change to northern because someone is southern, or they change to southern because someone is in northern. Just to better their chances. Of course, if you can do this, more power to you. Another vote for "contemporary" and "original" catagories for mens fancy.
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Old 05-03-2004, 02:54 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UNCLE
. . . Another point with the styles is...most of the people nowadays that judge mens southern fancy probably never seen johnny, elmer, woogie, garland, etc., dance before. Or even RG, joe b, billy mc., back in 80s-early90s. This goes hand in hand with the "change" thing. . . . . . Fast songs get the spectator crowd going, but a real good song that makes the dancer dance their best, get the powwow crowd going. But for real, they need to just combine the mens fancy.
___

UNCLE:

There is a lot of validity in your words.

Judging and contest champions shape the direction of Fancy Dancing. As long as judges continue to pick dancers who dance northern style in southern fancy contests, other dancers will continue to follow their winning dance styles.

There are a few southern dancers who still dance straight up using true southern movement. Doyle Roderick, Mike Pahsetopah, Joe Bointy immediately come to mind.

Many drums have changed their traditional tempo to accommodate the audiences and drum judges. Unfortunately, drums that don't go 190 mph "don't" win southern drum contests at the big powwows. It's just as simple as that. This is what has caused conformity and forced dancers to dance to rediculously fast songs.

In turn this has caused contest dancers to change their styles of dress and footwork.

Times change and so does men's fancy dancing. I predict fancy dancing will change even more radically in the next 10 years from what we are seeing now.
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Old 05-03-2004, 03:35 PM   #14
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WhoMe, I grew up watching southern fancy dancers, and yes there was a big difference in the dance style of today.. What do you think the radical changes in the next 10 years from what we see now could be?..
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Old 05-03-2004, 04:08 PM   #15
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*****reply from Cyberspace*****

I agree with sltate.

That's all.
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Old 05-03-2004, 04:19 PM   #16
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Okay for reals, here's my usual 2000 cents.

I really do agree with sltate. I remember way back in the day when I first started traveling to places like GON and Red Earth, and first saw N & S men's fancy. I could tell the difference back then and it wasn't just the singing that made the difference. I remember when dancers from OK started coming up north (to places like Tribes, etc.) and seeing the difference in dance styles even when they all danced to northern songs.

I find it interesting that some dancers switch from Southern to Northern depending on who is there and registered in what category, and where the head judges are from. Some of these dancers that do this are the same ones that people "ooh" and "ahh" about on this website and just think they are the greatest thing since sliced bread. I know i mentioned one in a previous long-winded post, so I won't go into detail about that one.

It's really sad that something as beautiful as southern fancy dancing has been reduced to a handful of generic dancers who dress northern, dance northern, but will conveniently be southern according to their contest whim. I know Spike can dance, and I really think alot of Darryl and some of the others that consistently jump in Southern Fancy, but they all dance the same way................NORTHERN.

And I agree with whoever said that it's the judges that are determining who wins in that category and they don't know what southern dancing is themselves. I think that's why contest powwows need to keep southern judges for southern categories, and northern judges for northern categories, so that the ones that know the differences and how the dances are supposed to look, will be the ones to determine who wins....but that's a topic for another thread I s'pose.

I was glad to see Joe B get in there and represent the true southern style of dancing, along with Dwight who I saw pull out some old classic southern moves during contest. Graham is a good dancer, but his family has always represented themselves as being northern style dancers, so I don't consider his style southern either.

Okay, I'm done.
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Old 05-03-2004, 04:19 PM   #17
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Quote:
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WhoMe, I grew up watching southern fancy dancers, and yes there was a big difference in the dance style of today.. What do you think the radical changes in the next 10 years from what we see now could be?..
___

Ndnkidz:

Most notable of changes that I can see are in the areas of dance movement and regalia.

Fancy dance songs will evolve to have radical stops and starts. Dancers will begin to specialize in developing their choreography to compliment these radical stops and starts.

Also mad stops, hops and spins will develop. The degree of athleticism will increase as dancers will incorporate modern dance movement such as barrel turns and difficult held poses for a long periods of time, while keeping head and foot movement in time with the beat of the drum.

In the area of regalia, I see a renaissance of bringing back past features of the fancy dancer. Included are all fluff and/or all plain eagle bustles, side leg bells and matching old style underwear.

Just my personal predictions. Let time tell the truth.
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Old 05-04-2004, 09:31 PM   #18
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I would say that PeeWee Clark and Rg pretty much did the dance on one leg thing for long periods of time, still keeping beat with the drum, using their head and body to emphasize the rhythm of the song.(not to mention Woogie Watchetaker and Johnny Whitecloud) But who sings songs like that anymore? LOL
Nothing is ever as good as the original, so that is just a fact in all dance categories. Hopefully, as I first said...someone will study the style and keep it going.
I also agree that some dancers switch according to who is there, what judges are in charge, etc. etc. There are those few who stay southern and I want to applaud them. (Anyways, RG was always too tall to do the hopping around thing, wouldn't you sayLOL)
In all fairness, there are good dancers out there and hopefully they will read these posts and define their style. Or else the old school dancers will come out from wherever they have been hiding and dance at big pow wows for the people who don't know what southern is. LOL Thanks for all the input, it has made this dance style interesting to talk about and see what and who knows the real deal.
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Old 05-07-2004, 11:40 AM   #19
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SLTATE as usual you have made a good point......

I've enjoyed reading this thread...

Stay tuned we still have a nice long summer ahead of us.....

Hopefully folks may just be pleasantly suprised.......?
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Old 05-09-2004, 04:30 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sltate
I just returned from Gathering and I was disappointed to say the least...in the southern fancy category. Not the winners, but the dance style itself.
I took my mom out there and we were watching the pow wow and she made me take a second look at this category. She made me go waaaaayyy back and compare the southern style that I was seeing at GON to what we grew up seeing around home. I realized no one knows how to dance southern fancy anymore, with the few exceptions of the classics still dancing (joe bointy was the only one I saw dancing straight up southern)
My mom pointed out that southern fancy is a straight style of dancing....no hopping around, spinning and spinning and spinning. Now I know the old heads were acrobatic, but nothing I saw this past weekend could classify as acrobatic either. Ruffle dance is just what it says....they are supposed to ruffle their bodies and bells not hop around.
It was just a bunch of hopping and spinning, not dancing and movement, no ruffling. What ever happened to the PeeWee Clarks, Elmer Browns, Johnny Whiteclouds, Jr. Moore's and even the RG Harris' of the fancy dance? I think if you are going to dance southern fancy, you should study the style and learn how to dance it right...or else you look just like the northern dancers. I think people think if you can dance a ruffle song, cozad speed, then that makes you a southern fancy. LOL
I totally agree with what your saying....but!!! I can remember watching the old school video tape called "INTO THE CIRCLE". I remember hereing R.G. saying on there "you gotta go with the changes if you wanna compete!". Joe Bointy is one of the last ones I think that actually dances southern style along with Billy Pewo, R.G., and the McClellans(sp?). I'm sure I could name more but I'm getting too sleepy. As for the Cozads thousand mile per hour songs. Come on now let them dance!!! I like seeing a fancy dancer do some foot movement not spin the whole time. Anyway. I always wished they would bring back "OLD STYLE FANCY". Some powwows have oldstyle grass, oldstyle jingle, oldstyle tradish and so on. I think that would be hella cool seeing that. I know i would try it out!!! Anyway thats my two cents.
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