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  • Dancing in circles OOO

    I'm a hobbyist of Native American Dancing. I've been dancing grass for about 6 years. Within the dance team that I'm in, our leaders have always told our dancers that traditional dancers NEVER spin in a complete circle like a grass dancer or fancy dancer would. They said that an almost complete circle was okay as long as it was not a full 360. I took it as fact and went about my business until i went to a pow wow about two years or so ago and i saw a northern traditional dancer spinning. I didn't get a chance (and frankly felt very rude) to ask him why he spun.

    My questions is, do northern traditional dancers spin or not? Is it a general rule that they don't and only certain tribes do spin or have I been taught a load of rubbish?

  • #2
    Originally posted by bphibbs View Post
    I'm a hobbyist of Native American Dancing. I've been dancing grass for about 6 years. Within the dance team that I'm in, our leaders have always told our dancers that traditional dancers NEVER spin in a complete circle like a grass dancer or fancy dancer would. They said that an almost complete circle was okay as long as it was not a full 360. I took it as fact and went about my business until i went to a pow wow about two years or so ago and i saw a northern traditional dancer spinning. I didn't get a chance (and frankly felt very rude) to ask him why he spun.

    My questions is, do northern traditional dancers spin or not? Is it a general rule that they don't and only certain tribes do spin or have I been taught a load of rubbish?
    First, let me say that I'm glad to see that you are taking the time to ask questions.

    Secondly, it has been my experience while dancing at many Pow-wows for over 30 years, the term "never" is a bit out of place. There are very rarely any hard rules like "never" and "always" when it comes to the styles of dancing you may see at Pow-wows.

    I'm not sure where or how your dance team leaders have gained their experience. However, IMHO you would do well to attend more Pow-wows and watch the dancing styles that Champion Dancers use. If they're winning contests, they must be doing something right.

    "Be good, be kind, help each other."
    "Respect the ground, respect the drum, respect each other."

    --Abe Conklin, Ponca/Osage (1926-1995)

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    • #3
      i'm northern tradtional, Lakota to be specific. I do not dance competition, it's one of those "spiritual Indian" things lol. Like historian said there really is no such thing as Never and always with all dancers, every tribe has something different they do, and alot of times there are things that are special to his family or between him and the creator and he does these things in his dancing. I don't know what you saw but it sounds like he was "following the tracks of his enemy" i've seen this before and it's confusing to the new dancers. One thing to keep in mind with us traditional's is that our dance tells a story and every one is different. Hope this helps
      Toksa A'ke
      ~Iyunkca Wanbli
      ᏕᏣᏓᏌᎳᏗᎮᏍᏗ- You must raise each other up
      ᏣᎳᎩ~

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      • #4
        thank you both very much for your insight. i suppose i'll just have to go to more pow wows than just the locals and see and learn what people are doing. thank you again!

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        • #5
          I never spin in full circles, I dunno why, just doesn't feel right for me. But other people do, especially contemporary dancers.

          I wouldn't see anything wrong with it, after all circles are sacred, and we dance in one giant circle anyways. Maybe certain tribes have different teachings on this that would forbid someone from doing so. But I say just do whatever feels right if you are beginning and if you end up doing something out of not knowing that might offend someone, hopefully an elder will give you some tobacco and talk with you about it.
          www.myspace.com/anishtradish

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          • #6
            Originally posted by anishtradish View Post
            I never spin in full circles, I dunno why, just doesn't feel right for me. But other people do, especially contemporary dancers.

            I wouldn't see anything wrong with it, after all circles are sacred, and we dance in one giant circle anyways. Maybe certain tribes have different teachings on this that would forbid someone from doing so. But I say just do whatever feels right if you are beginning and if you end up doing something out of not knowing that might offend someone, hopefully an elder will give you some tobacco and talk with you about it.
            i also don't know exactly why i was told not to...thank you!

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