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Old 12-01-2006, 05:14 PM   #1
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Eastern Blanket Dance

What's the eastern blanket dance? I don't mean the one where you throw money on the blanket for the drum, but the one in this pic http://www.powwows.com/galleries/sho...hp?photo=14205
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Old 12-01-2006, 05:37 PM   #2
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Welcome to Powwow Dancing in the Northeast.

As I have heard it explained, it sybolized the travel of woman from being closed in and shy like a cocoon (hence the wrapped blanket) thru to her woman hood and blossoming like a butterfly (hence the waving around of the blanket)

The only thing I dont get is at the end, most dancers throw the blanket on the ground.

Is that points off. ha ha.

There is also Eastern Straight for men. It is traditional in nature and is a very 'storytelling' dance.
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Old 12-01-2006, 07:09 PM   #3
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billyjoejimbob- It has been explained to me that when the dancer throws the blanket down at the end, it is symbolizing that the woman is ready to look for a partner.
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Old 12-02-2006, 12:18 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paintedsun22
What's the eastern blanket dance? I don't mean the one where you throw money on the blanket for the drum, but the one in this pic http://www.powwows.com/galleries/sho...hp?photo=14205
I have no idea.

It could just be the ladies showing their best designs and work using the blankets as shawls. It looks quite colorful.

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Old 12-02-2006, 09:38 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eap7
billyjoejimbob- It has been explained to me that when the dancer throws the blanket down at the end, it is symbolizing that the woman is ready to look for a partner.
LoL! I better start doing that dance then!! No really...I've heard of it, and I finally saw it on here, watching a video from Schemitzun or something. It's interesting anywayz...
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Old 12-02-2006, 01:36 PM   #6
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Haha "you go girl!" My 2 cents...its called the "Eastern" blanket dance but it seems to be more New England/Northeast...although I have seen other Eastern/Southeastern people do it (I think actually MayChe danced it at Schemitzun once and looked good). I remember when I first started seeing it at powwows about 8 years ago or so, and most people didn't know what the dance was. So some people made up stories about how its really ancient and traditional. I'm not saying that's not true, and I can't speak for the New England tribes because I am not part of one, but now many of the champion dancers in this category will say that it is traditional but also modern influenced. I think its kind of like how fancy dancing (for men and women) has both traditional and contemporary elements so I think its cool. Some of the women are very beautiful with this dance so I enjoy watching it. That's my 2 and a half cents!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ~*~MizzQaqimat~*~
LoL! I better start doing that dance then!! No really...I've heard of it, and I finally saw it on here, watching a video from Schemitzun or something. It's interesting anywayz...
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Old 12-02-2006, 04:35 PM   #7
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from what i have heard, the whole tossing the blanket on the ground or shaking it is to show a particular man she is interested in him.
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Old 12-03-2006, 01:56 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eap7
Haha "you go girl!" My 2 cents...its called the "Eastern" blanket dance but it seems to be more New England/Northeast...although I have seen other Eastern/Southeastern people do it (I think actually MayChe danced it at Schemitzun once and looked good).
LOL! You remember that? That was my first time dancing that style. My aunt who's Shinnecock taught me how to do that dance. I don't think I was that good but thanks for the compliment eap7.
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Old 12-03-2006, 03:24 AM   #9
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EAP - well, if she is looking for a man isnt she gonna need the blanket? Now it is all dirty from being thrown on the ground!!!

I agree, if you watch some of these women, they are out there having fun and feeling good. That is how all dancing should be. If you are out there with a puss on your face and walk off when your done like it was a chore, you shouldnt be out there in the first place.

They get to be more expressive than womans traditional yet less energetic than shawl and jingle.

I used to be in the "THATS MADE UP CR*P" camp, but things have to start somewhere. I enjoy watching a good eastern straight dancer, and an old lady doing the blanket dance.

I have seen Dean Stanton dancing his butt off for dam near 15 years while all the contemp trad dancers beat him out because they were "contemp trad". I was so happy for him when he won at schemitzun a few years ago when they started eastern straight.
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Old 12-03-2006, 12:11 PM   #10
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No No no billyjoejimbob, She's putting the blanket on the group to keep her and her man from getting dirty! hahaha

Quote:
Originally Posted by billyjoejimbob
EAP - well, if she is looking for a man isnt she gonna need the blanket? Now it is all dirty from being thrown on the ground!!!
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Old 10-17-2007, 02:29 PM   #11
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eastern blanket dance

Go to youtube and look up eastern blanket dance.Josephine Smith explains it well.This is not a new dance .I'm 55 y.o and this dance was done at powwow all the time prior to the western influence on powwows here in the east.
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Old 10-17-2007, 09:35 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by lynda hunter View Post
Go to youtube and look up eastern blanket dance.Josephine Smith explains it well.This is not a new dance .I'm 55 y.o and this dance was done at powwow all the time prior to the western influence on powwows here in the east.
Thanks for the link. It's a gorgeous dance. Do you know what nation it originated with? Is it the Shinnecock or with more than one eastern nation? I noticed on the video that some in plains buckskin were dancing, even though it's an eastern dance.
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Old 10-18-2007, 01:03 PM   #13
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I'm not sure where the dance originated but I know its eastern .As far as the plains Buckskin dancers I guess its like anything else,you want to try something new.
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Old 10-20-2007, 06:33 PM   #14
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there are dancers who wear buckskin dresses and some who wear cloth dresses. both are appropiate.
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Old 10-20-2007, 07:38 PM   #15
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Bahnisiain - do you have idea where the dance originated? To me, it is really the most beautiful of the women's dances. I prefer the plain buckskin dress - the beauty of the blanket shows better.
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Old 10-29-2007, 02:20 AM   #16
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It originated in the Northeast, New England/NY area.
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Old 11-19-2007, 06:46 AM   #17
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The Eastern blanket dance is one of the oldest and most traditional dances done by the women of the east coast, north and southeast. In pre-contact times, it was a ceremonial dance, and has only in the last century been a competition. For females of different ages, the dance had different meanings and was performed differently. For instance, teens and young women start the dance usually with the blanket wrapped around their backs and their arms stretched out ahead of them; this does symbolize their coming of age and the courtship of a partner. Also, these young women were showing off their blankets to the onlookers; showing that they had learned the skills of a blanket maker, passing through a stage of life. Older women start off with the blanket semi-open, to show they are or have been courted and have passed through certain stages and experiences of life, such as marriage and childirth. Golden agers should never start the dance with the blanket closed in front of them, and should also not spin the blanket around their heads, as they are revered and respected for their wisdom and knowledge of their accomplishments as elders, matriarchs and tenders of the home and family. Our powwow regalia consists of either buckskin or cloth (representing different time periods), can be either a dress or a top and skirt, short traditional fringe, moccasins and leggings are optional. Beadwork is now the contemporary and, I might add, popular way to adorn the outfit. When judging the category, I would say to look for grace and showmanship, showing off of the blanket, originality and, of course, graceful footwork.
For alot of people new to attending powwows on the east coast, you will see this dance done at alot of events. It is not, however, by any definition, a "new" dance; perhaps "new" to those who are new to attending powwows on the east coast!! But, we have always done this dance, and alot of others that haven't made their way to "mainstream" celebrations yet.
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Old 11-19-2007, 07:21 AM   #18
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I also meant to add:
It is very displeasing to hear untruths like, "snagging blanket" or "mating dance" or, as I even heard one mc say, "Those Eastern blanket dancers sure are tempting, doing such a sexy dance, teasing us men." This kind of rhetoric is unacceptable regarding dancers and their dance- no matter which dance they're doing! There are so many stories out there regarding the jingle dance, for example, it's ridiculous! But, usually, people have their own story and are willing to tell it, if one is willing to listen. This dance, to me, reflects the accomplishments and grace and beauty and strength of our Native women, young and old alike.
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Old 11-19-2007, 10:16 AM   #19
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Also, these young women were showing off their blankets to the onlookers; showing that they had learned the skills of a blanket maker, passing through a stage of life.

Thanks for your explanation. However, I've noticed that most of the blankets that the dancer carries are manufactured - pendletons, etc. It doesn't matter if one is Shinnecock, Narragansett, Pequot, etc. One cannot tell by the designs what nation they represent.

I know that there are many different tribes represented at any particular powwow. Shouldn't each dancer create a blanket that truly represents their designs and colors of their nation? I have seen this dance and I cannot differinciate (is this a word?) on the tribes represented. The dancers, no matter what tribe, all dress the same and carry manufactured blankets. I can't see the skills of a blanket-maker.

No disrespect. I have noticed this and wondered why.
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Old 11-19-2007, 11:18 AM   #20
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Also, these young women were showing off their blankets to the onlookers; showing that they had learned the skills of a blanket maker, passing through a stage of life.

Thanks for your explanation. However, I've noticed that most of the blankets that the dancer carries are manufactured - pendletons, etc. It doesn't matter if one is Shinnecock, Narragansett, Pequot, etc. One cannot tell by the designs what nation they represent.

I know that there are many different tribes represented at any particular powwow. Shouldn't each dancer create a blanket that truly represents their designs and colors of their nation? I have seen this dance and I cannot differinciate (is this a word?) on the tribes represented. The dancers, no matter what tribe, all dress the same and carry manufactured blankets. I can't see the skills of a blanket-maker.

No disrespect. I have noticed this and wondered why.
Good question, but I imagine,as with so many other things, new products and techniques were adopted when they made life easier, and manufactured blankets sure did make life easier. The dance seems to reflect its early origins in many ways. Thank you, Skicinwarriorwoman, for the explanation. It helps me a lot, and I can watch the dance with a lot more understanding now.
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