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  • Changes in the dance style

    Way back in the day when my uncles paid my way to straight dance I was taught that there were movements that I couldn't do. One was I couldn't place my tailstick on the ground. Another was I couldn't turn in a complete circle because that signified retreat. I was put in by my Kiowa uncle who was married to an osage lady. Lately though, I've seen alot of straight dance guys do these things? Was I taught wrong? Also, where did that ultra smooth glide step come from, like Terry Gimmesaddle used to use or Jess Oosaweh uses? I know someone in this thread will be able to help with these questions. Aho

  • #2
    Tribaltagz, Changes.

    I've already posted that my teachings about the stick and dancing in a circle are the same as yours [from Billy Wahnee].

    I've watched some old timers glide, but as to who "invented it" is anybody's guess.
    Colonel Moore, Pawnee, had a glide, but I also saw him once put his stick to the ground and dance around it in a contest.

    Newman Little Walker, Ponca, was smooth as glass. Many Osage men had the glide; I always think of Smokey Lookout. The ol' glide was really a "rocking from heel to toe" kind of step. Abe Conklin had a sort of pause/hesitation in midair on the accent beat. He made it look good.

    Historian posed the question in September, 2003, on this forum, "What are the qualities of a great straight dancer?" There were some good responses.
    Last edited by Gledanh Zhinga; 09-16-2006, 08:09 PM. Reason: Last paragraph accuracy

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    • #3
      i dont ever put my stick on the ground just cause i was always told not to, becuase im not a tail dancer. i was also told not to do a circle, but for a different reason, i was so that you dont tangle your soul, and i was also told by a well respected kiowa man, that i will leave unnamed, that its alright to go in the circle as long as you untangle yourself.

      Now in the signifing retreat, it was on T.V., i think the dicovery chanel "uncovering the past", that it was form of tachtics the native americans used, not going in a circle but turning and running aswell as just running backwards. it was to make it seem like there where more warriors. they would kind of run over a hill then they would stand in place and while another buch would run among them but a little bit further they would slowly duck down and run back, then a third group would run in on the second while the first would makes its way out and than the first would continue the pattern, making it seem like there where thousands of them......just what i watched dont know if its true.


      the other big question i had is, why is the Straight dance considered the "gentlemens dance" from the stories i have herd they where warriors just as the traditional dancers where. they where the bravest of warriors, but thats when i was told the story that they would stake there otter into the ground to signify that theyu would not leave until the stake was removed by a chief or someone of high stature in there tribe......so to me that doesnt seem very gentlemanly, so how did this name come to be bestowed opun them?
      "Most of you dont like me, All of you dont have to. But from the bottom of my heart, Thanks for noticing me!"-Nashoba Simmons

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      • #4
        I was taught it is honorable as a Straight Dancer(responsibility) to display humility, be a gentlman at all times. Always put the others first, if you should actually watch a Grand Entry line up watch the Straights. The real Straight dancers will honor each other and allow each other to go first. Sometimes it is gamesmanship perhaps. I will always allow others to lead in especially our elders. Our men are responsible for the safety, well being, and care of our families and friends(Community). I was taught that we are charged with this responsibilty as part of our honor to be able to be called and dance This dance. A Society thing I guess.

        I think another reason is the dignity of which the Straight Dance is danced.

        Not sure I said this well, but hope I got to the point I ment to say.
        BOB

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        • #5
          thanks cherosage, i was tought the same way and i also allow most other straight dancers to go before me in the grand entry, my grandpa always said it is like golf, my gandfather and i were big golfers, and he said that it was the gentlemens game. even though it game is just as diffacult as anyother it is with great pride that we must carry ourselves. so from the links to the line up, i take that with me. the protacal in wich one must act is very gentlemenly. but either way just wondered what others had thought about it.
          "Most of you dont like me, All of you dont have to. But from the bottom of my heart, Thanks for noticing me!"-Nashoba Simmons

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          • #6
            I remember a few of the Ponca elders using "hethushka" as an adjective. They were suggesting that a participant or member of a man dance should "be hethushka". In that sense, it means the things that Bob and Cakewalk are talking about, being: generous; grateful; helpful; courteous; humble; prayerful; principled; and finally, as tough as nails, if the situation warranted. Nobody is perfect in all respects, but these are the qualities that we hold up as exemplary.
            Last edited by Gledanh Zhinga; 01-04-2007, 10:50 AM. Reason: addition

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            • #7
              Originally posted by tribaltagz
              Way back in the day when my uncles paid my way to straight dance I was taught that there were movements that I couldn't do. One was I couldn't place my tailstick on the ground. Another was I couldn't turn in a complete circle because that signified retreat. I was put in by my Kiowa uncle who was married to an osage lady. Lately though, I've seen alot of straight dance guys do these things? Was I taught wrong? Also, where did that ultra smooth glide step come from, like Terry Gimmesaddle used to use or Jess Oosaweh uses? I know someone in this thread will be able to help with these questions. Aho
              Tribaltagz,
              While Straight Dance is a term for a collective Southern Plains style, there are many tribal variations, especially when it comes to Society traditions. What is correct among the Pawnee Iruska, may not be done at the Osage Ilonschka...and what is done at the Ponca Hethuska, may not be done at the Comanche War Dance Organization, etc. Therefore, I would not say that you were taught wrong...just that some traditions are different in different tribal warrior societies.

              As far as the smooth "glide step" seen amongst some Straight Dancers, my sources have told me that it's origin goes way back. The dance movement is said to have originally evolved from the behavior of warriors sliding their feet, thereby disguising or obliterating their footprints, when in enemy territory. This was at a time when the shape of the footprint of a moccasin could determine the origin of the tribe of the person who wore it. Many warriors also had fringe or animal tails attached to the heels of their moccasins which enhanced the affect of making the footprints unrecognizable.

              "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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              • #8
                Originally posted by tribaltagz
                Way back in the day when my uncles paid my way to straight dance I was taught that there were movements that I couldn't do. One was I couldn't place my tailstick on the ground. Another was I couldn't turn in a complete circle because that signified retreat. I was put in by my Kiowa uncle who was married to an osage lady. Lately though, I've seen alot of straight dance guys do these things? Was I taught wrong? Also, where did that ultra smooth glide step come from, like Terry Gimmesaddle used to use or Jess Oosaweh uses? I know someone in this thread will be able to help with these questions. Aho
                As Historian had said you are correct. Along with Historian's mention you must remember that not all Straightdancers today were taught and given the right to dance with us, nor do they follow any of our societies. Continue to follow your teachings with honor and teach this to others as you are able.
                BOB

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                • #9
                  I asked a simular question a while ago and got some info. You can check out the Ring Around The Tail Stick thread and see what is there.

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                  • #10
                    How is someone given the right to straight dance? Do you just walk up to somebody and say “I give you the right to dance”?

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                    • #11
                      Bill Dance,

                      Getting the right to straight dance would vary depending on the tribe. I think generally, in the tribal/family way, the leader of the man dance could be approached, and a request made. The leader has the option of choosing someone on his own, as well. If the family gets the go-ahead, preparations are made, and the dressed dancer is formally brought into the circle. This requires a special song, a family song if possible, and a giveaway.

                      Sometimes an "outsider", a non-tribal member is asked to be a part of the formal straight dance world. In that case, the same protocol is followed.

                      Sonny Whitehorn, who was drumkeeper in the Hominy district years ago, told me that he did not care to hear the expression, "I paid for my seat". He said it sounded like you were going to a movie or play, and you paid for your seat. He said that when you come into the circle the first time or when you are honored, you simply feel good and you feel like sharing. So you do give.

                      In the powwow way of things, some dancers just suit up and dance in straight clothes. They may have properly made their way into the circle with ritual at one time, or they may not have. We want to assume that they have done things in the right way.

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