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Women's Traditional Southern Round dance

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  • Women's Traditional Southern Round dance

    I've been to a few powwows lately and have noticed that when the Women Southern traditional do their round dances, they have two very different styles of dancing. I have always seen the ladies dancing the slow graceful "walk" style and they bow their heads down. Lately I have been seeing more ladies dancing the fast style of round dancing similar to the Women's Northern Traditional. Can someone school me on why the change from the graceful walk style to the faster style? I don't mean any disrespect on asking, I'm just a curious Northern woman that noticed the change. Thanks!! :)

  • #2
    Good question. This is what was told to me:

    My grandma was 89 when she passed away a few years ago.She is a full blood Ponca. She taught us girls to dance the round dance fast, as it is a victory dance. Soldier songs, whatever you may choose to call them.
    The slower dance is a "49" style of dance. So, my mom and aunties have told me on numerous occasions.
    As for the going down on the down beats, that is something I have NO knowledge of and have asked my elder relatives and they have no recollection of that being done at the dances at home. Usually you just turn on the down beats.
    I tried that once and got chewed out big time, so I dance it the way my granny taught me to dance it, regardless of if I am in competition or dancing at the Veteran's dances at home.
    I wonder how many southern buckskin women know why they dance that dance the way they do, and the origin of it? I would like to know more about that too.

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    • #3
      Thanks Rwgirl! Yeah I am just curious cuz I've been seeing some of the ladies that used to dance the slower "49" style now dancing the faster style, and I was wondering why they were changing. Actually a lot of my Northern friends and I, were wondering why the change and we thought it may be a new trend. Thanks for clarifying that it is the traditional way of dancing and the slower version is contemporary. One time I asked a friend of mine why the Southern ladies bow their heads when they dance, (the straight dance) and she told me that not every one does that and she didn't know where it originated from, so you are right that some ladies don't know why they do certain things when they dance.
      Yes definitely more answers would be helpful. Thanks again rwgirl! :) :)

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      • #4
        some ladeys do that 'double beat' step during round dance yup like a northern style but i go for that slower more gracefull look of a southern gal get that fringe going and it all kewl i do notice that the southern cloth tend to go at a faster rythm lately not all a them but some it kewl though. i think that it look kewl when the gals just turn their direction a bit and not bend at the hips on round dance but then what do i know i just a southern boiiiii
        everything needs a bit more taste that's were Spicy comes in

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        • #5
          Originally posted by rwgirl
          Good question. This is what was told to me:

          My grandma was 89 when she passed away a few years ago.She is a full blood Ponca. She taught us girls to dance the round dance fast, as it is a victory dance. Soldier songs, whatever you may choose to call them.
          I agree. We Kiowa women do something that's just called the Victory Dance on special occasions (as others might, I don't really know), and the basic step is a fast counterclockwise step, and that's kind of what I think of when I see the round dance done double time.

          But I also think the slower thing is better looking in contest dancing. Personal style opinion, I guess. :)

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          • #6
            Thanks all of you for your input! Yes I noticed the change and wondered about it, like at Schemitzen and other powwows, the ladies that used to dance slower are now dancing faster on the round dances. I think the slower version looks more graceful and I always enjoyed watching the Southern ladies jam out that way. When they dance the faster version, (as a Women Northern Traditional dancer myself), I notice that some of the ladies don't have control of the fringe. Whereas the slower version has the fringe under control and it looks good. I don't know, it's all good and beautiful either way, the traditional way as faster or the other slower version as graceful. :Angel2 Peace

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            • #7
              Originally posted by rwgirl

              I wonder how many southern buckskin women know why they dance that dance the way they do, and the origin of it? I would like to know more about that too.
              ya know that would be interesting to learn, how many ppl really know why the dance that way or where it came from, or even the origin of their dress.
              i could use a few lessons!

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              • #8
                I'm a southern dancer, and my grandmother still does the double-step. When she's not around, i tend to dance the slow way, but when she is there, i have to dance fast. Maybe these old ladies know what they're doing.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by LumbeeTurtle
                  ya know that would be interesting to learn, how many ppl really know why the dance that way or where it came from, or even the origin of their dress.
                  i could use a few lessons!

                  I would hope you knew the history of your style of dance, your outfit, your tribe & why you dance & why you choose to dance the style you do.......otherwise why dance?
                  *BE EASY*

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                  • #10
                    My grandma's Comanche (recently departed in May) and she always taught me to dance contest round dances slow. I don't wear an otter turban but my clothes are obviously Comanche, and I've grown up thinking that southern women dance slow. When I see someone in Comanche clothes dancin fast in a contest round dance, I think it looks funny. Fast round dances are for victory songs or scalp songs, but these aren't sung during contests (or at least they're not supposed to be sung during contests ). I would hope that dancing style reflects the dancer's knowledge of the songs being sung.....however, slow round dancing is much harder on the knees and thighs, so I can understand a physical need to dance fast if it's easier on your bod, ya know?
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by walela49
                      My grandma's Comanche (recently departed in May) and she always taught me to dance contest round dances slow. I don't wear an otter turban but my clothes are obviously Comanche, and I've grown up thinking that southern women dance slow. When I see someone in Comanche clothes dancin fast in a contest round dance, I think it looks funny. Fast round dances are for victory songs or scalp songs, but these aren't sung during contests (or at least they're not supposed to be sung during contests ). I would hope that dancing style reflects the dancer's knowledge of the songs being sung.....however, slow round dancing is much harder on the knees and thighs, so I can understand a physical need to dance fast if it's easier on your bod, ya know?
                      Thank you for all of your responses and Walela, I'm very sorry to hear about your grandmother :( . I find it interesting that you say the faster dancing is less physically strenuous. I always thought the same thing about the slow Southern round dances as I thought that must be easy on them. But I can see your point about how dancing slower would be more strenuous on the thighs and knees. I dance Northern traditional and dance stationary. I dance the old style of bouncing in one place and snapping the fringes and that is more physically exhausting than dancing/walking. Of course I don't know about the stationary swaying style, never tried it and probably never will, so I can't say if that is less strenuous than the faster style.
                      My Northern friends and I had been noticing within the last two years the change of the Southern womens round dance. I have never been to Oklahoma and don't really have knowledge about all the different tribal dance styles so thank you all for being patient with me. Someday I would like to go over there and check it out, as I do have a lot of Southern friends :) THANKS!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Kakeeya
                        Thank you for all of your responses and Walela, I'm very sorry to hear about your grandmother :( .
                        thanks


                        I find it interesting that you say the faster dancing is less physically strenuous. I always thought the same thing about the slow Southern round dances as I thought that must be easy on them.
                        that's funny!
                        I guess I just revealed my lack of knowledge about northern dancin:D Yup, I've never done it, big shocker! LOL

                        When I'm straight steppin or side steppin slooooooowwwwww, I bend my knees a lot deeper, so my quads always start burnin!
                        When I side step fast, I don't bend my knees as far. I guess I should give it another try and really GET DOWN like you northern gals huh?:p
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                        • #13
                          I had to bring this thread back up because I wanted to mention something that a female Kiowa/Comanche friend told me. I had asked what her preference in dancing round dance style. She told me that Comanches did the quick, double step and that is how she dances. Is this true?

                          My tribe is known for pow-wowing, but not necessarily a "pow-wow " tribe, so "originality" is based on what we observe from other tribes.
                          Bead All You Can Bead

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ac_miss
                            I had to bring this thread back up because I wanted to mention something that a female Kiowa/Comanche friend told me. I had asked what her preference in dancing round dance style. She told me that Comanches did the quick, double step and that is how she dances. Is this true?

                            My tribe is known for pow-wowing, but not necessarily a "pow-wow " tribe, so "originality" is based on what we observe from other tribes.
                            ___

                            ac_:

                            I'm glad you brought this thread back up.

                            I have asked many women who represent the southern tribes what how they originally did the round dance. I have often received opposing answers from women of the same tribe.

                            There is a reason for this.

                            The cultures of the southern plains tribes had different dances that involved women's participation in different types of round dancing.

                            These dances included the ghost dance, war journey, scalp dance, victory dance, war mothers dances and the modern round dance.

                            Each of these dances traditionally had a certain slow or fast step associated with them.

                            Therefore it is easy to see why there is confusion in attempting to resolve the question of what style of round dance southern women should dance.

                            I can tell you from my observations of travelling to many powwows far and wide, "the southern women who do the faster round dance usually place higher and more consistantly."

                            __

                            Some background on contest round dancing.

                            The round dance was not part of the southern way of contesting to begin with.

                            In days gone by, there was a warm up song and a contest song. Each song had 3 starts (push ups).

                            As the modern MEGA powwows started to come into being (15 to 20 years ago) southern styles began to comform with northern styled rules. In this standardization of contest, southern competitors began dancing to two contest songs, four time through (4 push ups). Today, every body is used to this.

                            Jack Anquoe, the leader of the Grey Horse singers, was a pioneer of changing southern powwows ways. He was the first to sing round dance songs for southern women's contests. He gained his ideas by travelling throughout Canada and witnessing this done by the Canadian Plains people. His style of round dance singing reflected an adaption of northern flavor.


                            WhoMe
                            Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

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                            • #15
                              Thanks Who Me! I've always wondered about the two round dance steps. I lost points in a contest because I'd gotten lazy and started off doing the slow step. Then I looked across the arena and saw shook faces under my shade and realized what I was doing! I quickly changed, but to no avail. Well, learning experience!
                              Poetry is life in print.


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