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Old 06-25-2003, 12:15 PM   #1
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Old Style fancy shawl

Does anyone know about the old style fancy shawl? Since it is a fairly new dance compared to traditional, I was wondering if anyone has danced this style or has seen it. I saw an "old style" fancy shawl special at a powwow about 7 years ago, and I have never seen anything since. My grandmother would tell me about how they used to dance long ago. Any Input?
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Old 06-25-2003, 10:21 PM   #2
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Old style fancy shawl was mostly about footwork. Not too much jumping, skipping and high kicks. I think the only time there would be spins is during the honor beats.

Also the style of the outfits were more simpler. The shawls were just fabric with chainette fringe. No yokes, a scarf around the neck instead. Moccasins were the high top ones that wrapped around your calf and tied up with leather laces. It was all about the footwork back then. If I had a scanner I would post some pictures, but I don't :(
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Old 06-26-2003, 12:32 PM   #3
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That would be great if you could post the pictures, when you are able, I am sure people would like to see that:)
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Old 06-26-2003, 01:59 PM   #4
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Thats the idea that I had of old style fancy shawl. My grandma would be kind of disgusted at the "young" style of fancy shawl dancing...kicking and swinging thier shawl around. I started out as fancy and thats they type of outfit that I had, high top moccasins, and she always stressed that under no circumstances was I supposed to show my legs...that was a no-no:NoNo
And I do remember the spinning on the honor beats.

Another thing...kind of off the topic, does anyone you see disqualify themselves when they drop a piece of their outfit or overstep or stop too soon. To me, that is a sign of honor and respect for the drum, for themselves and their family if they disqualify themselves. What is your input on this?
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Old 06-26-2003, 03:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by tradish_wiyan


Another thing...kind of off the topic, does anyone you see disqualify themselves when they drop a piece of their outfit or overstep or stop too soon. To me, that is a sign of honor and respect for the drum, for themselves and their family if they disqualify themselves. What is your input on this?
My daughter has twice... once for an understep... once for an overstep. One time they had her to line up anyway.

I have seen many times when the person dropped something and picked it up and went on as nothing happened. Once they asked who a dropped object belonged to and the person denied it. I don't know why they were allowed to get away with it but since it was a hairtie you would think they would notice when a person only had one and who's outfit it matched. Anyway... she got what she wanted.. she got first.
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Old 07-01-2003, 08:25 PM   #6
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You "Kids" are making me feel old. We used to "old style" dance back in the 70's I guess when we were kids. Some one here described it pretty accurately.

Hi-top boots that laced up (balerina like) around your calf, long fringed shawls with double knot (usually a solid color) and cotton dresses with a concho belt and a scarf.

Yes, it's all about footwork and honor beats and just a step above jingle dancing. Your knees didn't really raise much. My style is very old style in dancing. If anyone's in chicago, I'll be happy to teach you!

:P

Lori.
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Old 07-01-2003, 11:45 PM   #7
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I guess I could say I still dance the old style. I wear a fully beaded yoke, and have Ribbon fringe of course, but Im talking bout the style of Dancin. Don't see it much anymore. I would rather do the footwork, I like it when people are like, "how did she do that?" Alot of gurls these days seem like they just do alot of , kick, kick spin left, spin right, kick, kick.. I must be gettin old..lol
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Old 07-01-2003, 11:52 PM   #8
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You're not old

Quote:
Originally posted by fncyshwldncr4life
I guess I could say I still dance the old style. I wear a fully beaded yoke, and have Ribbon fringe of course, but Im talking bout the style of Dancin. Don't see it much anymore. I would rather do the footwork, I like it when people are like, "how did she do that?" Alot of gurls these days seem like they just do alot of , kick, kick spin left, spin right, kick, kick.. I must be gettin old..lol
You're just elegant! ;)

Hey, I prefer the footwork to as opposed to the acrobatics. I've been told my style sways like grass in the wind. I think that's a compliment compared to the bouncy bouncy they do now.

I have a yolk now but I still have my chainfringe shawl...Working on a ribbon fringe...
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Old 07-02-2003, 10:47 AM   #9
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Its good to see that there are women who are staying with the old style. Another thing my grandmother told me was that when you hold a shawl, keep your "front" covered and don't fling your shawl all over. gee, i see some dancers swinging their shawls all over, arms straight up in the air. I really do love the old style in all categories, and I would love to see the old style fancy shawl dance. Although, I respect the new style, I prefer the old style...its more meaningful to me.
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Old 07-02-2003, 09:57 PM   #10
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Oh my yes! EVERYTHING had to be covered. You did NOT wear tank tops under your shawl! You wore a full cloth dress and you did NOT open your shawl. I personally open my shawl up these days, but not nearly like the "youngin's"

Gramma Lori, Signing off.

;)
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Old 07-04-2003, 11:20 AM   #11
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"old style" fancy shawl

I thought "old style" referred to women who danced with their shawls draped over one arm but still danced a with a little more activity than tradish girls...you know, a little footwork, a little spinning, etc. I've seen these ladies wear plain-ish dance clothes with either a beaded yoke or a scarf. I've seen this in dances up north like Crow Fair and on a video of Little Shell. If you try the "old style" fancy shawl thing down here, people look at you like you're crazy!:39:
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Old 07-09-2003, 06:24 PM   #12
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old style fancy shawl started back in the late 50's - first wave & early 60's 2nd wave. the 70's was the third wave. i danced the shawl dance as it was known back then & when it transitioned to a little more footwork in the 70's. lady's back in the day who are orig. are namez like Hazel Blake from Fort Berthold, Mary Windy Boy Lone Bear, now living on Fort Berthold, Julia Roach RenCountre of SD. just a few of the names. i watched these women when i was competing in little girls categories. it started in the ND & SD area & spread out in the 70's to the surrounding states & provinces. the first dancers wore high tops, cloth dress, belt (mostly leather w/ tooled floral imprints, & beaded necklaces. wearing buckskin dress started in 60's & 70's, as well as scarves came in 70's & beaded capes late 70's & early 80's. i've seen it change as well as modesty. i still like watching contemporary fancy shawl. culture has to evolve to live, but sometimes it crosses the line.
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Old 07-09-2003, 06:31 PM   #13
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Thanks to all the ladies who posted, these posts sure bring back a lot of good memories of how the shawl dance was originally. I agree, tradition evolves and things change. it does cross the line when the ladies are constantly spinning and running (i just wish i was in shape enough to dance like that). :p No disprespect ladies...you are all beautiful in your own way. Its nice to get nostalgic once in a while.

The style that I love to watch is the old style grass dance. *maybe I should go post in the grass dance forum* :Chatter
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Old 07-21-2011, 05:36 AM   #14
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those exact stories i heard,from buckskin dress and a folded shawl in one arm, then 60's and 70's cloth dress and a shawl wrapped around their body but not much spinning. 80's and today when it all turned contemporary. this is what our younger generation fancy shawlers needs to know and learn first. i even got accused of lying about the history of womens fancy dancing. thats like dissing our original elder ladies who created this dance,sheesh,know your history bud. BTW i think the old style fancy shawl is coming back to its old roots :D keep it up girls. :)

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Old 07-21-2011, 12:12 PM   #15
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My daughter dances fancy shawl, she's 16. I make sure her dress is long enough so her legs don't show when she dances. That is how I was told by Auntie. Also my daughter's regalia is not bright neon colors, she likes more subtle colors (blues and white). Even with the "new style" of dancing you should not be showing your legs and flinging your shawl around. It would be great if someone had any video or pictures of the old style and could post them so the young kids could see how fancy shawl started.
In our family, we always ask our elders to tell us how things started out. It's good to know how it started.
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Old 07-21-2011, 03:44 PM   #16
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But, but, I was told the fancy shawl dance began with a legend of the butterfly???




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Old 07-21-2011, 08:39 PM   #17
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Yes, me too. This is what Auntie told us...
"Long time ago, butterflies were thought to be able to show that a person has genuine compassion in their hearts. When a butterfly lands on a person, specifically a young woman,then the witnesses have something positive to say, whatever they choose, but it goes like this,'she has kindness from the heart'. The butterfly flutters about in beauty, therefore the one whom the butterfly landed on emulates the butterfly (and its beauty) when she dances. Often shawls in the old days had sequenced butterfly on the back. And it became a fad in the 60's, when pow wows started to take off. Nisehu aputxag wachipi was the name of the dance back in those days. I don't know exactly when it started being called 'fancy shawl dance' but the Lakota words for that dance literally means, 'hands on hips she dances', was the original fancy shawl dance which became very popular amongst the young female dancers. When dancing became a competition we were told to stop dancing or not dance for money as it is for our spirit that we dance, not money. I hope that in some way this story helps you to understand how it came to be from the Lakxota culture."
This story was told to me by Auntie. She says there may be different stories from different areas. This is just what she was told and then told me.
Hope it helps you some also.
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:39 PM   #18
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~contented sigh~ *THANK YOU!* for this beautiful thread! Twenty-plus years ago some good friends taught me how to fancy dance. Recently I was able to dance again~well, Big Mama TRIED anyway. :) I have been amazed at the differences in regalia and steps and thought it was just me! I guess now I know I'm old~LOL! This thread brought it all back with a smile.... (((((HUGS))))) sandi
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Old 11-10-2012, 11:26 PM   #19
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Indian Country Today Media Network

http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwor...wl-dance-22719

The Evolving Beauty of the Fancy Shawl Dance

By Autumn Whitefield-Madrano March 20, 2011


Read more:http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwor...wl-dance-22719 http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwor...#ixzz2BsvdJHrw

Given its legacy of color, vivacity and even rebellion, the name of the dance is ironically plain: fancy shawl. Women’s fancy shawl—often mistakenly thought to be a dance that traces back far in history but is actually a fairly recent innovation—is one of the most anticipated competitions at pow wows. In this unique performance, young women from many nations skim, twirl and hop across the arena with a gait that manages to be staccato, lithe and fluid all at once.

For generations, women’s dances tended to be restrained, regal and sedate. But when men in the 1920s created what we now know as men’s fancy dance in order to skirt U.S. government bans on tribal dances (and simultaneously create a spectacle for tourists willing to pay for the pleasure of viewing these performances), women wanted in on the action. In fact, the regalia of the first female fancy dancers were similar to men’s regalia, such as wearing bustles.

This early form of the dance didn’t take off until the 1950s, when women in northern tribes incorporated traditionally feminine aspects. And thus what we now know as fancy shawl dance was born.

Fancy shawl dancers are often said to resemble butterflies. The shawl that gives the dance its name—a fringed, colorful, often beaded or appliquéd adaptation of the traditional women’s blanket—extends over the length of the dancer’s “wingspan.” Being light on one’s feet is a must, so the simile applies. Footwork tends to be decided by the individual; there is no particular set of steps to which dancers must adhere, and balance and symmetry are more esteemed than fancy moves. At least one foot should hit the ground with each drumbeat, except during jumps or spins; the dancer’s head also keeps time with the beat, though not nearly as emphatically as one might see in men’s fancy dance. As with all pow wow dancing, dancing to the tone, style and rhythm of the song is essential, and not ending with the final drumbeat will get a dancer disqualified. Poise, endurance, showmanship, agility and grace are the prized attributes.

In fact, the fancy shawl dance was called the “graceful shawl dance” when it emerged in the 1950s. While fancy shawl dancers are still indisputably graceful, there is occasional dispute about how athletic the dance should be. In the 1950s and 1960s, dancers stayed closer to the ground and took smaller steps than today’s shawl dancers. The mid-century shawl dance was more exuberant than women’s traditional dance, but it was still restrained and known as “ladylike” in demeanor. In the 1970s and beyond—perhaps influenced by the growing awareness of women’s equality in the zeitgeist—the dance began to resemble what we see at pow wows today. A competitor might spin heartily and repeatedly; she may whir her way through her fellow dancers, resembling more an agile snake than a butterfly; she may kick, even leap, with her shawl extended above her head.

This makes for exciting viewing, but mature hands routinely tell beginners to not kick too high, to not rely on spins to display one’s technique, and to not use flamboyance as a crutch to cover a lack of style. Other practical advice to beginners often includes tips on cross-training: endurance running, sprinting and strength training are common among experienced dancers who know how much stamina the dance requires. Most of all, though, experienced dancers always share this simple bit of wisdom with novices: Have fun.

“I’ve been told by many people that because of how petite I am, I should try harder,” said Bobbi Lynn Pratt, Hopi/Dakota/Ojibwe, 2010 Gathering of Nations women’s fancy shawl champion. “But as for winning, I try not to think about that part so much because it takes the fun out of dancing for me—although placing is definitely a bonus.”

The intersection of joy and restraint, discipline and energy is also seen in the regalia. The fringed shawl, moccasins and leggings are found on virtually every competitor, along with a flared skirt that might be attached to a top, and a beaded overlay, usually a vest or yoke. Practical considerations apply—the strenuous dance makes adequate ventilation essential. (Wearing buckskin is allowed in women’s fancy shawl competitions, but its weight and lack of breathability means that it is used strictly as an accent.) The color scheme may borrow from butterflies (pinks, oranges, and blues are popular) though anything from blacks to neons may be worn. Of utmost importance is modesty: Dancers are encouraged to consider how much leg might be revealed once the regalia is in its full range of motion, particularly during spins. Accessories can include beaded earrings, hair ties, chokers with a neck-drop, and headbands.

Pratt says there is a cyclical effect in regalia: “I’ve seen fancy shawl evolve from simple wear into a very contemporary, elaborate style, including the make and style of shawls, dresses, and beadwork,” she said. “Some of the ways from those first days have come back, with a new twist.” The cycle of new to old and back again isn’t surprising, but considering that women’s fancy shawl is less than a century old, it points to a yearning—particularly among non-indigenous people—to bolster traditions and link them to contemporary life. Take the butterfly example. While many dances have roots in legend and oral tradition, fancy dancing’s practical origins mean that while the dance is to be taken no less seriously than dances performed by those from centuries ago, reaching to the natural world to explain it is a backward approach.

Participants on the online pow wow portal PowWows.com frequently extend the visual likeness to see meanings that aren’t there.

“The girl who is represented by a larva of a butterfly becomes a woman who is represented by the butterfly,” wrote one misguided “reviewer. While dancers frequently are young women—the stamina required means that dancers move toward more traditional women’s dance as they age—the comparison is simply untrue. “When women’s fancy first came around, they didn’t look or dance like the fancy shawl dancers of today, all colorful like butterflies,” said a Standing Rock Sioux woman. “They were more like moths.”

Yet there’s no question that for the dancers of fancy shawl, the dance can be a contemporary tool for bonding within Indian country—it was intertribal from its very origins. When asked about her pre-competition ritual, Pratt focuses on the community aspect and how essential that is to her. “I always think of the people, my family, who can’t dance. I hope it makes them happy when I dance. I couldn’t imagine dancing anything else.”
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EDIT: THESE PHOTOS ARE FROM C.I.H.A. - California Indian Hobbyist Association

I had googled "old style fancy shawl"

Learn something new each google day!

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