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  • Southern or Northern Style?

    Hello everyone,

    A friend of mine and I, are debating on the proper steps that define and differ Southern and Northern Women traditional steps.

    Now this is not our category, hence the debate…

    As far as I was taught, Southern style is “flat foot” small steps, with knees bent all the time while the bust is held high and motionless, this creating the bobbing motion. The shawl being the focus of the swaying as usually there is no fringes or short ones… Honoring the drum is done by bowing deep (with or without holding the fan out).
    I never danced Northern, so I am not sure, but my friend told me that it was done with small toe/heel steps, knees bent and bust held back and chest pushed forward (helps posture with heavy long breastplates). The honoring of the drum was done by bowing your head slightly. Very dignified. No fan being hold up. The swaying was done with the long fringing .

    Now…. We have seen some dancers with Northern regalias doing what I just described as Southern steps and vice-versa. Which is very confusing to us both. And we end up having non-stop conversations about it. We have approached older dancers from both sides and were told that the above descriptions were correct. So, why some dancers are crossing over from one regalia to another without changing their steps? Or is it now something that contest dancing is changing and, this, is just a case of intertribal evolution…? But this is another debate (!!).
    Last edited by redberries; 08-27-2007, 03:49 PM. Reason: I did not like the font chosen
    Inila ye! Imaputakaye!!

  • #2
    Well, you hadn't even addressed the West coast-East coast differences. I'm a dancer from the Northwest, and do not agree with half of what you stated.

    Comment


    • #3
      hhhmmm, that IS a tuffy. because there are so many different tribal styles. It's a broad question, and I guess the debate will go on FOREVER...lol.
      "Out greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us."

      "Never Compromise yourself, Your all you've got"


      "An eye for an eye will only lead to a blind world."

      Comment


      • #4
        Hello Wocus Woman

        Wocus Woman, I meant no disrespect for the West/East Coast difference for I have the greatest respect towards the traditional ladies.
        You have raised an issue I would like to follow through with your help. Would you mind explaining me the difference between the two costal heritages?
        None of the dancers we approached mentioned that at all.
        As I said in my first post, it looked very confusing to us when we tried to understand the steps. Maybe it is down to that.
        Or we did not understand what we were explained, either way if we are not told, we cannot learn the difference. We assumed there was only a difference between North and South. Not East and West.
        Thank you.
        Inila ye! Imaputakaye!!

        Comment


        • #5
          Hello Dat1NdnGuy

          Very true, but at least if I could get the basic steps classified as “Southern” or “Northern” it would help us understand the dance better, and truthfully admire the skills of a good dancer, when we see one.
          Thanks anyways.
          Inila ye! Imaputakaye!!

          Comment


          • #6
            So the northern style is different depending on tribal style? nice to know.

            I'm from Oklahoma. We all dance pretty much the same steps southern style. There's slight variation (personal taste/flair) but u can definitely identify southern dancing.
            The only time its too late to start dancing is when you're dead.

            Comment


            • #7
              southern or northern style

              I believe that it is the dancers privilge to dance her own style no disrespect but all tribal groups have their own rendition and that's fine we all are blessed with the defining fact that we are all very powerful women and we should respect ourselves in life and dance. i dance ladies northern traditional but use a southern type of regalia i choose to because of the dreams that accommpany the use of the regalia. my twin daughters dance and each is individual shawna dances straight northern traditional and is stationary with the fast bending of the knees to the beat of the drum and less fringe sway. shannon dances aggresively with the walking and chest out and head high and bending the knees as she walks and yes her shawl is more in sway but just a slight tilt of her head when honouring the drum. in any event the sight of all these beautiful women in dance is breath taking, enjoy and give tabacco to the dancer and thank her for such a beautiful dance and then ask about the origin of her style.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thunderbirdwoman

                Thank you very much for this insight on Northern steps and for sharing your own experience. It helped understand the Northern side of things. I have approached a Choctaw Elder I know. She does not dance very much anymore because of her knees. But she was really pleased to have someone asking her about the Southern steps.
                I gave her tobbaco. Thanks.
                Inila ye! Imaputakaye!!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by redberries View Post
                  Hello everyone,

                  A friend of mine and I, are debating on the proper steps that define and differ Southern and Northern Women traditional steps.

                  Now this is not our category, hence the debate…

                  As far as I was taught, Southern style is “flat foot” small steps, with knees bent all the time while the bust is held high and motionless, this creating the bobbing motion. The shawl being the focus of the swaying as usually there is no fringes or short ones… Honoring the drum is done by bowing deep (with or without holding the fan out).
                  I never danced Northern, so I am not sure, but my friend told me that it was done with small toe/heel steps, knees bent and bust held back and chest pushed forward (helps posture with heavy long breastplates). The honoring of the drum was done by bowing your head slightly. Very dignified. No fan being hold up. The swaying was done with the long fringing .

                  Now…. We have seen some dancers with Northern regalias doing what I just described as Southern steps and vice-versa. Which is very confusing to us both. And we end up having non-stop conversations about it. We have approached older dancers from both sides and were told that the above descriptions were correct. So, why some dancers are crossing over from one regalia to another without changing their steps? Or is it now something that contest dancing is changing and, this, is just a case of intertribal evolution…? But this is another debate (!!).
                  As a Northern Traditional dancer for almost 20 years, I have never done the "head bowing" thing, and there are certain times and REASONS for raising a fan. Also, not all Northern Dancers walk..that is a whole style all its own. ALOT of Northern dancers are stationary, and again, for several different reasons. I think to fully flesh out your debate, and not have it become so Divisive, as it seems to becoming, rapidly, in here, you need consider entire range of aspects, all the tribes, and take into consideration the different styles of outfits (cloth or buckskin dresses with or without fringe), and never forget the individual tastes and experiences of the dancers. This should never be a North/South debate. That is to narrow, and negates alot of people, styles, tribes, and traditions.
                  Ipsica Waci
                  Wicahpi Eyoyambya Olowan

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    northern southern dance style

                    respectfully agree with all and i believe i tried to state that the origin of the style of dance is the perspective of the lady doing the dance with time it is my belief that we all dance to the same drum beat debates should be fun and respecting each others individuality

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Northern traditional is a hard contest to judge.
                      The only time its too late to start dancing is when you're dead.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thank you very much!!

                        Thank you Lakota Wiyan. I am feeling very humbled by your statement. First because it is making me realize how full of meaning each dancer's outfit/dance and representation of that dance has.
                        I never danced buckskin as I was drawn by dreams to perform in Jingle. But, if in old age even the most dignified and subtle jingling hurts, I was thinking of retiring as a Northern dancer.
                        Having discussed this with you all, I think that I will wait and listen to whatever is being told to me.
                        It is yet again, obvious to me, that tribal heritage, spirituality and individuality leads you to your path as it is chosen for you not the other way around.
                        Thank you for taking the time to stop by and address the issue with me.
                        Inila ye! Imaputakaye!!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by redberries View Post
                          Thank you Lakota Wiyan. I am feeling very humbled by your statement. First because it is making me realize how full of meaning each dancer's outfit/dance and representation of that dance has.
                          I never danced buckskin as I was drawn by dreams to perform in Jingle. But, if in old age even the most dignified and subtle jingling hurts, I was thinking of retiring as a Northern dancer.
                          Having discussed this with you all, I think that I will wait and listen to whatever is being told to me.
                          It is yet again, obvious to me, that tribal heritage, spirituality and individuality leads you to your path as it is chosen for you not the other way around.
                          Thank you for taking the time to stop by and address the issue with me.
                          Redberries, what a Lady you are! I'm glad you took my comments in the way they were intended, not to criticize, but just to gently pull you back a few steps to see the whole picture. I'm sure your dignity and grace translate well in your dancing as well!

                          Oh and just a note of caution..if you think jingle dress dancing is hard...try repetitive movement, bending of the knees, or exercising control over exact foot steps, while trying to maintain upper body control with your shawl or fringe! Traditional dancing isn't something you retire to!! Its a bit harder and strenuous than it appears, to dance correctly and gracefully! But, I do invite you to join us!!

                          Best wishes to ALL you amazing women who dance, regardless of the style.
                          Ipsica Waci
                          Wicahpi Eyoyambya Olowan

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Agree

                            I agree with all of the opinions expressed here. I am not exactly sure what I would be classified as.....Northern or Southern. My regalia is short fringe buckskin but I have a long bone/glass bead breast plate that is long inthe front and short in the back. When I dance, I am not statioinary and I do flat footed steps with the deep knee bends which give my shawl the movement. I guess I could be considered both northern and southern if you are only looking at dance steps and regalia, but I strongly agree with the statements that we are not "classified" but dance what we feel is right and make our regalia from our dreams, tribes, and personal values. The only "classification" that I think is appropriate is cloth or buckskin in women's traditional dance style. As these two types are different with very awesome differences in regalia and in step. With respect to all dancers, just enjoy the beauty of the dance and the songs in your heart given by the drums!!!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thanks again >:D<

                              Thank you very much for all of your input.
                              Yes Lakota Wiyan, I can imagine how hard on the joints dancing with your knees constantely bent can be. As well as the weight of full bone breast plates can be. Not to mention heat in the summer sun under heavy hides.
                              My apologies. My heart goes out to all of you very beautiful and strong women.
                              Many years are still in front of me before I come to retirement. I guess, I will see then what I am suppose to become.
                              As for my friend, I will pass onto her all of your comments.
                              It was great having spoken with you all, including nascarboy3.
                              Many blessings to you.
                              (PS: I do not know how to close the thread, but I got my answer).
                              Inila ye! Imaputakaye!!

                              Comment

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