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Southern or Northern Style?

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  • #16
    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 (!!).
    i was in teh middle of trying to type this and my computer kicked me right out on my fanny ouch*lol* but i think there is always simple basic steps that differentiate southern adn northern and then over time ppl develope thier own flair of uniqueness in dancing. i seen this southern girl one time danceing northern but it was different she was high up on her toes dancing not flat footed. i dunno how she came abou tto dancing like that but it was defintly different i seen alot of northern buckskin and they dont dance anywhere near like that neither does the southern. i was always told us southerners move about more in danceing when it comes to buckskin than northerners liek with teh bowing etc..


    • #17
      I don't competition dance no more, because I dance what they call oldstyle, I guess. I don't know any other way to dance traditional( northern) mostly in one place but otherwise slow moving, and I guess I drag foot. I have never put as much thought into dancing as since I started reading what everyone writes. Its very interesting. I really enjoy the buckskins I see now, we would wear things that were gifts sometimes. Things that would make us pretty, I still have a pin that was my mothers and a really old pair of hacons( hairpieces) that an antie gave me when I started dancing. Not very matching, I never wanted to hurt someones feelings so I would wear it all. All I remember is that I was told to be respectful, dance slow, I was never wore a feather or plumes, stiil don't,I am just old fashioned.ha ha When its hot out, during day powwow, I wear cotton dress, much cooler.I saw a southern dancer for the first time three years ago and I loved their dresses and crowns.


      • #18
        What a tough discussion!

        As a man, I can only relate what I have observed and also what my sisters, mothers, aunties and grandma's have shared with me.
        Here in Oklahoma there is a basic southern style, or step, which is a step, a fluid wavelike motion of the whole body and a bowing for the honor beats. I have seen a few raise fans while bowing wearing a buckskin, but it is rare. My Ponca aunties all dance an older style which has more of a bob to it on the off beat. Back should be straight.
        Now, Northern styles. It seems to me that the term Northern encompasses SO much more than the term southern. You say southern, that means Oklahoma style. One little state. You say Northern and WOW! From New York to Washington and then all of Canada!!! No wonder that under the blanket term of Northern you get so much variation! But, I've generally orserved that Northern is a "livelier" style of dancing with more pop and snap on the lower fringe rather than a sway, but again, I know some GREAT Northern ladies who have a sway an Okie girl would be jealous of! I've seen a few ladies (Mostly Crow) that add a kind of "lift" to their step. It's a kind of flat step then a lift to the toe. Whether that's a tribal trait or just a family one I dunno, just what I have seen.
        I've really enjoyed reading all the posts and would like to hear from everyone what tribe you're from and how you were taught was the proper way to dance for your style.
        Keep swingin' and Swayin' ladies! My Mothers and Aunties make me so proud out there!


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