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Old 12-17-2002, 03:19 PM   #1
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Question learn to dance

My friends! I'm new to the forum, so let me explain my plight.

My family comes from the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, but we can not prove blood back to the Dawes Rolls, only Marriage rolls, so we are not enrolled in the tribe. That doesn't keep me from going to a minority leadership conference here in Wisconsin, every year, as a Native American woman. This year, my last year at the conference (since I will be graduating HS), I wanted to do something special for the talent show. Since I go to the conference as a Native American, I figured I would do something related for the talant show, and want to learn how to fancy dance. This is something I have wanted to learn for quite some time now, but never quite had the ambition. My mother and I are going to start on the regalia after Christmas, but the conference is in February so I don't have a lot of time to learn. I've seen some of the videos online that are about $20, but thats just something I can't afford!! Milwaukee's main Powwow is over for the year, so maybe you have some other suggestions for me??

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Old 12-17-2002, 04:00 PM   #2
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hmm....thats a short peroid of time to learn to dance and get your regalia made. Your gonna have to practice hard. Mabey you know so some peeps who dance? Just pray about what you want to do. And ask for help/guidence. Whatevers meant to happen will. YOu could go to the archives and check them out.
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Old 12-18-2002, 09:06 AM   #3
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We are definately praying to get done in time, but 2 months (since it is the -end- of February) will hopefully be enough to get some basics down.

There are usually less then 10 Native American representatives at the Conference, so I want to educate the rest of them, even if I am not perfect.

I only know one girl who Fancy Dances, who I met at Milwaukee's Indian Summer Festival, but she travels a lot with Echos (www.fancydance.com), so I haven't been able to talk to her lately.

Thanks for the reply though.

-Ahpi
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Old 12-18-2002, 09:29 AM   #4
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Outfits tend to be kind of expensive. I don't mean to crash on your parade but if you really want to do this right it'll take hard work and some money. The videos you emntioned are really good to watch and learn from especially if you don't have anyone around you to learn from.
What kind of outfit are you wanting? Beadwork, sequin, or fabric?
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Old 12-18-2002, 09:34 AM   #5
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Unfortunately, I know just how expensive full regalia can be, but we are hoping that if we make a simple fabric one for now, we can upgrade to beading and ribbonwork later.

-Ahpi
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Old 12-18-2002, 09:47 AM   #6
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Autumn-Feather, you can do it! Belive me, I did, I learned to dance and made my outfit in a matter of 2 months, and it is beautiful. Mind you , it's not beaded--yet. Now I have the time to do it. My plight was the same, I wanted to learn to dance and have regalia in time for the Tdot Skydome powwow. I useed to dance when I was youger but as soon as the competitio powwows became popular, my mom pulled me out, I tried to practice at home but being so young I didn't have the discipline.

Anyways, what I did was buy a couple cd's and dance, dance, dance every night and eventually I could dance through a good 4 songs. There are many sites on the net that you can download clips of Fancy, and when you have the basic moves down, like a couple kicks and spins and (help me out ladies...what would you call the old school step...KINDA resembles the running man but knees not so high?) Anyways, everyone has their own stlye...all you need are the basic steps, and as soon as you are able to dance on beat, the drumming will take over and you do what your body tells you.

In terms of the regalia, I knew that I would have to have something pretty for fabric, since it was going to be plain, I choose white satin for the shawl and legging, lavender satin for the frill on my skirt,kinda like a pastel green satin for the yoke and body of skirt, and 12" black fringe. This is the best part, I went to Fabricland and found a really pretty butterfly fabric that was meant to be a pillow, but I cut out the butterfly and it was the perfect size for my yoke, I sequined the body, wings, etc and it turned out beatifully...oh ya for the front of the yoke I just sewed the back onto a black regular vest that I picked up at the thrift shop. So it workd and now I have all winter to bead the yoke and leggins.

So after all this writing, I guess what I want to say is don't be discouraged, at first it will seem like a lot of work, but don't let that stop you, in the end you will be proud and extremely happy. I hope this helps.....Take care!
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Old 12-18-2002, 04:42 PM   #7
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Good luck on your appearance at the conference. I am happy to hear you are going to educate and represent. I am happy to hear how determined you are to do this. I have gone through the practicing for dancing the regalia making and it makes me glad to know you are committing yourself to this. Good luck.
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Old 12-18-2002, 05:12 PM   #8
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DANG GURL!!!

I dont want to sound like a bag full of discouragement, All I have to say is its not something you can learn in two months, and it shouldnt be learned as something to just show off.

An outfit is made from hard work and good thoughts. If you just throw together an outfit, than thats what its purpose will be. I wanted to do the fancy shawl dance for a youth conference I went to back in my day *aye!! LOL* But my mom explained to me that its not something you can just do to just do it. I didnt dance for about 3 or four years after that, because I worked on an outfit, got help from the women in my family and finished it. And when I danced for the first time, it meant something because I was on a dance ground, on the pow wow grounds with women who had worked just as hard as I did on theyre regalia, and people whose hearts felt the same way as mine did when theyre feet hit those grounds.

If your going to be "representing" You better think about what your REALLY representing. Coming from a fancy shawler, I know that I earned the right to wear my outfit cuz I worked hard for it. I earned the right to dance on the grounds and compete cuz Im always looking for ways to improve my skills, to improve my movements, STILL to this day, I want to dance better, move better, and its HARD WORK!!!.And as far as feathers go, well, thats a whole new story!!!

Im not saying that what your doing CANT BE DONE but rather saying how it should be respected on that level, especially if your representing the dance and the meaning of it.

I really hope this dosn't discourage you gurl! Rather makes you think about it in a different light though, cuz us fancy shawlers out here take pride in what we do. And should you go through with the dancing, then be sure to follow through with it, dont give up on your outfit, and dance hard!!!!
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Old 12-18-2002, 05:48 PM   #9
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jeez chic...took tha words right outta my mouth! i dunno,girl...if you're really gonna go through with it ...i just dunno...put everything you got into it and youre gonna hafta work really hard, that's all i gotta say that powwowchic didn't already say...jeez though...not to sound all discouraging either but, i dunno, you're gonna do what you wanna do so just keep on praying,work your little butt off(dancing&outfit)...just put everything you got into it...good luck anyways
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Old 12-18-2002, 09:32 PM   #10
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Ennit though?

yeah girl, took both me and supergirlie_fancy1 3-4 years to even come close to good. I just hope no big headed Fancy Shawler comes up to you and laughs in your face or teases you about your outfit. I've seen it happen gurl, for real, some of the dancers are just not nice and they will be mean to you if you look like you dont know what your doing......Good luck though girl!
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Old 12-18-2002, 09:47 PM   #11
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Why dontcha get one of those plastic sheets with the footprints on it that you could follow the steps by the number. You'll be dancin in ten easy lessons. Just kiddin:) Couldn't resist.
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Old 12-18-2002, 09:50 PM   #12
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kiwehnzii,youre a geek....nah i'm just playin thats kinda funny
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Old 12-18-2002, 09:51 PM   #13
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LMAO!

Gaaaah!!! Kiwehnzhii See how you are!!! LOL
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Old 12-19-2002, 10:54 AM   #14
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I've heard a lot about some dancers being rude and laughing in someone face, but thankfully, I have yet to sight someone like that. The ladies I met (who are pretty well known on the trail) were supportive and like Powwowchic and Super girlie said, happy that I was starting, knowing the signifigance and honor that comes with dancing.

All I can say is that, yes, I made my outfit quick, and, yes, I had to work on it every night for two months, and, no, it's not yet finished, but I set a goal for myself (the TDOT powwow being an objective) and accomplished that goal in a tight period of time. And now I have the rest of my life (or at least till my knees hold out) to dance, and I feel great. I challenged myself to do something that, even though I'm Nish and used to dance, I felt like there was the possibility of ridicule from fellow dancers. But I said, squash dat, I'm gonna make my outfit, it's gonna be beautiful, I'm gonna get out there and dance my flat arse off (can I say arse?)... .

Anyways, it's all a matter of how much you feel the desire to be on that ground shakin a tail feather (ok that was corny but I couldn't resist) and representing your style of dance. Nothing is impossible, and nothing should stand in your way (ie. time, material, discouragement, etc). You want it? Take it.
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Old 12-19-2002, 02:25 PM   #15
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Please understand, I don't mean to just throw this together and do a crappy job of it, but I don't mean to be perfect either. I don't mean to go to the conference and just show off. I want to show them that while I am just learning, this is something from MY culture, and if you want to be culturally aware, you cant just know about your OWN culture, you have to know something about others' too.

Hopefully my regalia won't LOOK thrown together because I didn't just make it with some fabric and thread, but love too. I have higher ambitions than just this conference, such as Milwaukee's Indian Summer Festival Pow-wow next September, but I didn't mention that because the conference is so much closer than the ISF.

Also, with regards to Fancy Dancer's coming to me to criticize, etc, I know all the female Native American reps at the Conference, and none of them dance at all, let alone fancy dance.

Please know that I am not trying to do a rush job just to do it, I want to to mean something too.
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Old 12-19-2002, 02:49 PM   #16
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Well.....

See ya there autumn_feather!
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Old 12-19-2002, 02:53 PM   #17
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See who?

See me?? See me where?? ISF?? I go there every year, but dancers are rather hard to meet, either relaxing between their respective dances, buying food, or actually dancing. Keep in touch until closer to that time of year and perhaps we can meet up there. :)
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Old 12-19-2002, 08:38 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by autumn_feather
Please understand, I don't mean to just throw this together and do a crappy job of it, but I don't mean to be perfect either. I don't mean to go to the conference and just show off. I want to show them that while I am just learning, this is something from MY culture, and if you want to be culturally aware, you cant just know about your OWN culture, you have to know something about others' too.

Hey Gurl, Im just giving you the reality check that comes with all hopes and dreams, Im not saying DONT DO IT, but rather you better expect what comes with being unprepared. Dont underestimate what the other girls may or may not know about dancing, because you dont know who might be training themselves to dance, who might have a fancy shawling sister/cousin/aunt whatever.

Truth is, I dont want to sound mean, but when I compete, thats exactly what Im there for, TO COMPETE. I expect and respect that the other girls around me know what theyre doing, and are not there to TRY and dance, thats what training and learning is for, not the grounds. The reason I jumped on this topic so fast was to let you know that if you plan on representing the dance and its meaning, well then YOU BETTER KNOW WHAT YOUR DOING. I expect you to dance well, I expect you to respect the fancy shawl dance, I expect you to know what your dancing, because it deserves that respect.

Seriously, you can't just half-a$$ the dance and expect applause. I mean it, you better know what your doing, because the dance deserves that respect.

Like you say, you have to KNOW about other cultures too, well then you have to take that whole heartidly and accept the respect that comes with that.

Fancy Shawl Dancing isnt all about the outfit and learning the dance. But Why are you dancing? Why are you dancing this style? Who are you dancing for? Where do your colors come from? What do your designs mean?

I've met my share of Fancy Shawlers from AAALLLL Around USA, but I also come from a HUGE pow wow family *Kings from Wisconsin WHATS UP!!!:p * And everyone of them that Ive met has asked me one or all of these questions. Ive run into alot of nasty ones to, but thats all come to pass because once they saw that I gave good comp, and I COULD dance, it was all water under the rez bridge.

Guess what Im trying to say is I would rather see a bright young woman like yourself be able to say "I've taken the time to learn the dance, learn the meaning and earn my clothes so that when I dance, I understand what the dance is all about" rather than " Im still learning but Im just dancing because I want to".

I meant Milwaukee's Summer Fest!!! :p Oh im to old for your youth conference!! LOL Probably get thrown out!! AYE!!! LOL Sure lets meet up!! Perhaps you should consider that as your debut, I know alot of the drums that go, maybe I could hold a special for you!!! Ya know, do it the right way:D Heck Ill even buy ya a NDN taco...:p think about it...
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Old 12-19-2002, 09:00 PM   #19
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Good luck Autumn! Do your best and represent girl!:Thumbs
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Old 12-19-2002, 09:14 PM   #20
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hey i know i sound weak but ...
....powwowchic...ditto....
.........autumn_feather...listen to powwowchic she knows what she's talkin about...and not to sound mean but powwow girls can be really mean if they see someone dissin tha circle...so just do it tha right way & i agree that isf should be your debut rather than tha youth conference....just puttin in my 2 cents...
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