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Forum Home - Go Back > Pow Wow Arena > Women's Dance Styles > Fancy Shawl Dancing Ladies, can you give me some advice... Ladies, can you give me some advice...

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Old 07-04-2003, 03:32 PM   #1
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Ladies, can you give me some advice...

I have two daughters. One 6, the other 2. When I dance, I take them to powwows with me. They love the music, and they love to dance. I made a small shawl for the older one that the younger one now uses. The older one was given a shawl by her grandfather, so she uses that one now. the older girl likes to move a lot. She's got a lot of energy, so I thought Fancy Shawl was a good fit for her. The younger girl, although not really old enough to understand it all, knows there is a right way and a wrong way to move aout the circle already. She's a bit more reserved than the older, so may opt later for another style.

But for now, my question is this: when should they start learning about the dancing? They both like to dance, and I have some friends who could probably teach them what they need to know. As I am a Men's Traditional dancer, I can't give them a lot of insight. :)
Is there something specific they should know? Or is there something I can teach them about the steps? Are there similarities between the steps I know and the steps that are done with Fancy Shawl?
My wife is not native in the least, and although she likes powwows, the music, dancing, and has her own shawl, isn't as "into it" as me or the girls. ;)

Thank you,

Scott
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Old 07-05-2003, 10:42 AM   #2
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At this age, if they're dressed and out there making an attempt they're cute and everyone smiles.

Your six year old should be ready whenever she is willing to take instruction. I'd say in another year or so really start looking for someone to teach her, but you'll be surprised how much she'll pick up on her own, just watching!

If you have a sister, friend or a friend's sister who dances, maybe ask them to take them under their wing, but let your girls decide HOW they want to dance when the time comes.

:D
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Old 07-05-2003, 05:11 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by wickedannabella
At this age, if they're dressed and out there making an attempt they're cute and everyone smiles.

Your six year old should be ready whenever she is willing to take instruction. I'd say in another year or so really start looking for someone to teach her, but you'll be surprised how much she'll pick up on her own, just watching!

If you have a sister, friend or a friend's sister who dances, maybe ask them to take them under their wing, but let your girls decide HOW they want to dance when the time comes.

:D
That is good advice! Just let them have fun, respect the arena, and stay proud, and dance hard... well dance and have a good time at that age;)
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Old 07-08-2003, 06:48 PM   #4
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I'll have to keep that in mind myself. My daughter is 6 now and we've got the shawl made, it's now almost time to have her learning the ropes from someone else. :)
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Old 07-09-2003, 12:53 AM   #5
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Scott,
I've got several kids around the age of your daughters. First off, don't push them. If the older daughter is very interested and can handle some direction, then go ahead and have an outfit made. It needs to be fun for them at this age. The family friend whom is going to become her "teacher" should be a dancer and make sure she follows her for a year (sticks with her thru grand entry and all).

For our daughter (who is 5), she has sticked by my side ulmost a year now. If she gets bent out of shape (at home), I'll ask her where her honor is. While I had her out in the arena, while the flag/victory songs are being sung and the invocation is being spoken; if there was a younger kid that acted up, I would point it out to her and tell her that kid doesn't have honor. It really makes her straighten up and pay attention to what she is doing.

As for the other one, you could make a simpler outfit for her as well, just doen't expect too much out of her. Let both girls tell you what their dance style is based on their actions. For the same daughter, I just switched her over to a different style because I could not get her to settle down and dance fancy shawl. She would just run around the center drum during her tiny tot contest.

Hopes this helps you!
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Old 07-14-2003, 07:17 PM   #6
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its good you are trying to help your daughters to learn to dance. the best way is for them to hear the music, meaning listen to good pow wow tapes/cd's all the time, at home, in the car, on long road trips, etc. the first thing is to get the beat & rythym. i have two daughters who began dancing as soon as they could stand, dancing stationary northern plains tradish when they heard the music. when they were tiny tots they started fancy shawl dancing, but to help them adjust to stay in time to the music, i switched them to jingle to get the beat down when they were about 5 & 6 years old, before switching them back to fancy in grade school where they could then start working on their footwork, spins, moves, etc. my youngest was a natural, the oldest it took until she was a 4th grader. you also have to take them to pow wows so they can watch & learn. make it enjoyable and not a "have to" thing. but most of all, and you already have it, the interest and committment to support them -- getting them to the pow wow, getting their dance regalia ready, providing positive feedback and support! it also helps when the parent(s) dance too, but it's not a guarantee, plus some of the best contemporary dancers nowadays, come from 1st generation pow wower's, SO ENJOY!:)
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Old 07-14-2003, 11:17 PM   #7
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I took my girls to a powwow this weekend. Although it was hot, it was fun. My youngest daughter loves the music - then again, she loves any music. At her first powwow, only 6 months old, she was intent on the colors and songs, but then fell right smooth out asleep. The ones after that she'd only fall asleep once she was too tired to stay awake. But, now, no way. She wants to stay awake as long as the drum plays & sings.
The older girl just wants to dance like a big girl. She's almost 6, so she wants to be like all the other kids she sees. They both have shawls and they know they wear the shawl when they dance. You should see them head toward the arena, until they remember they aren't wearing their shawls. Air brakes kick in. It's funny.
But, they made me proud this weekend. They stayed with my mom, who was adopted as a sister to one of the ladies in the circle around here a long time ago. And they watched everyone around them and tried their best to dance right. The youngest kept turning around to show me how good she was dancing. I was so proud.
I don't want to push them. But, I just don't know enough about the women's styles. They love the music - we listen to it all the time. They know there are times they can dance and others when they can't. They love their shawls, too. But, I guess I should ask them the next time we're powwowin' it up, which they like more. My oldest will defintely like fancy shawl, especially if I remind her of the butterfly story I heard about the style(whether the story really is true or not, she *loves* butterflies). And the younger really doesn't need an outfit or a style, but I know if I get one an outfit and not the other, my head will be on the chopping block. lol
Thanks for your input, I really appreciate it.
Scott
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Old 07-22-2003, 01:17 PM   #8
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Scott!

Sounds like your girls are on the right track. At this point just let them find themselves and as long as they are respectful, they'll do just fine!

:D
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Old 07-23-2003, 11:54 AM   #9
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Thank you!
My wife just delived a healthy beautiful, 3rd baby girl yesterday. 6lbs 9oz, 20" long. She's beautiful!

I'll give it a year, before I make her a shawl. :)

Who knows, with 3 girls, we could just about cover the majority of women's dances. We could have a fancy shawl, a jingle, a Southern cloth. Heck, 2 more girls and I could have the shortest basketall team in history too.

LOL

Scott
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Old 07-29-2003, 11:22 AM   #10
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Scott Congratulation first off.
Second if you have a back yard; USE IT. Let your girls practice out there and blast that cd to the highest notch and let them neighbors hear some REAL tunes.
I practice in my back yard every other day for a good hour. Weekends I really let it all out.
Hope to see your little girls out there one day.
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Old 07-30-2003, 12:47 AM   #11
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Oh, yeah. We have a big back yard. But it's getting upwards of 100 degrees here right now. I crank up the music in the house, normally. But, right now, with the baby, we gotta keep it sort of hushed. At least for a couple more weeks... :)
And, thank you!
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Old 08-05-2003, 03:10 PM   #12
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hey um lilfancygirl, since she likes to run around the arena jus a suggestion but try jingle dress on her..........never kno she might be good.

on scott might wanna try but i think the younger one will do really good as a fancy shawl she might even be ready to take instuctions from another person( for the older one if u dont have any one giving her instructions she might start copying the older women and then making them fit into her style which will be beautiful when she gets older) :32: :sweat:
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Old 05-27-2005, 09:22 AM   #13
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Smile Dancing

I've been dancing since I was three. I don't remember much but by the time I turned six wow, a whole new world opened up to me. I was raised on the Blackfeet Res. Montana, so I learned Northern Style, As I grew I learned all the dances including Womans Warrior Honor, join the USFA but never quit Dancing I'm now a grandmother of eight 2 sets of twin boys and 4 girls the youngest is 5 mth and all but one is dancing but I still take her into the circle with me she loves the Drum and colors of the Dancers. So if they want to dance by all means let them dance. They are after all going to take our place in the culture of our people remembering a Tradition. Blessings be with you all as you Dance with the Elders.
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