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  • help me please

    I am just begining to start the process of fancy dancing.I am 14 years old and I love fancy shawl dancing. I am creating my shawl designs , but I don't know where to start.
    I also love the dance but don't know where to start there either . I have been to numerous pow-wows and watched so many powwow videos , but I still need some pointers . Anyones help would be grately appreciated .

  • #2
    I have seeked info about this also so just to let ya'll know I just love the dance so much and want to follow what my feet what to do and just dance . I just need to learn the basics first get a taste of what I am going to experience.

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    • #3
      Wellllll...the first thing you do is you figure out what your design is. I don't know if you have one in mind or not, but mine came to me spiritually. Once you figure out what you want, you figure out your colors. Then you take your measurements for your shawl, and remember for seam allowance. Figure out what length you want for your ribbons, and start cuttin! Depending on your design, you may want to applique or use another technique. I personally don't have applique on my shawl, because it's a very simple design. I suggest a very lightweight fabric. I currently have a satin fabric, but it's your choice.

      Once you've finished your shawl, time to get your yoke (you might call it a cape) together. If you want it fully beaded, I wouldn't do it in the exact same colors/pattern as your shawl, because you may want to change shawls at some point. For my yoke, I found a big bowl and traced and cut. My yoke is beaded (not fully yet), but I beaded on ultrasuede, then put a liner. For the front, I took a vest pattern, and just attached ties on the edges so I can tie it around my back.

      For your skirt, you're on your own. You can either find a pattern in a fabric/craft store, or you can make your own. You need one that you can dance well in, and do kicks and such. Some girls put the same or a similar design on their dress or skirt. Some girls have a full dress, but you'd have to talk to them, because I only have a skirt.

      Leggins...ah yes. I'm at this stage in making them now, and can't help you 100% at this, but measure how long you want them to be, and make a pattern. As far as beading goes, bead on your fabric of choice, then line it. Zip close leggins work the best and are the easiest to get on and off. I'd appreciate some advice on these too

      Moccasins...these are easy, pick your pattern...there are millions online, and in different indian craft catalogues. Buckskin works the best, because it's pliable and easy to bead.

      Accessories...from what I've done/seen...these are mainly beaded, and consist of earrings, a headband, a necklace, rings/bracelets, hairties, small barrettes, side barrettes, plumes and drop feathers. Depending on your colors and designs, you can bead them or sequin them to however you please. If you want feathers and plumes, imitation are the easiest way to go. I don't know a lot of girls who have real eagle plumes/feathers, and the ones who do were given to them in a ceremony or in some honor. Mine are imitation and I bought them for $8 from my dad's friend. They're really good if you're just starting out, and you make them yourself, because its not a big deal if you mess them up.

      So in a nutshell...the average fancy shawl regalia consists of:

      -Shawl
      -Cape
      -Dress/Skirt
      -Leggins
      -Moccasins
      -Plumes
      -Side drop feathers
      -Back barrette (to hold main plume on)
      -Side and small barrettes (to hold side drop feathers on)
      -Hairties with ribbons
      -Necklace
      -Rings/bracelet
      -Earrings

      That's my list of what I have/have yet to make, but it's all in what you like. You may want all of it, or only half of it. Your regalia represents you. Good luck and feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

      -Leah
      "Duct tape is like the force. It has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the world together."

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      • #4
        thank you!!!

        Thanks very very much I appreciate your help as I said I am just beginning the process and appreciate anyones tips and help . I thank you very much and will concider your ideas of what to do .

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        • #5
          I'm in the same boat. I just love the fancy shawl dance, to me it is so beautiful. I am also 14. I've been practicing a few dance steps on my own, based on virtually every website there is about fancy shawl dancing, powwows I've been to, videos of the dancers on YouTube, and music for fancy shawl dancing downloaded to iTunes. I've partially come up with a design for the actual shawl, but my sewing skills are going to have to improve greatly in order to make it. Practice makes perfect, I guess. But there are so few resources for shawl making online, so I'm confused. Should the design be simple or intricate? Are there designs or colors you should NOT include on the shawl? You know, something that might be disrespectful? Or can you really just do anything you want? I know it should go from finger-tip to finger-tip, but I'm trying to figure out how long the actual shawl should be, and how long the ribbon should be. I'm 5.1". Would it be better for me to make my first fancy shawl, or have someone make it for me? I know there's a few places online I could order regalia from...oh, and are there any patterns or designs specific to certain tribes that I should know about. As you can see, I'm quite ignorant on this subject, and any help would be appreciated.

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          • #6
            I myself am not very educated in this particular subject . I myself are 5'10 and know a few steps from vids. I know some colors are not suppost to be used but one website said to ask your tribe for colors that are not used by them but I am not for sure . I'll try to help as I learn , and hope you do the same.

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            • #7
              I myself am not very educated in this particular subject . I myself are 5'10 and know a few steps from vids. I know some colors are not suppost to be used but one website said to ask your tribe for colors that are not used by them but I am not for sure . I'll try to help as I learn , and hope you do the same.
              Hmmm...looks like it's time for a trip back to the Qualla Boundry...everyone here in Middle Tennessee who I have met that claims Indian "descendancy" would probably not have the slightest idea what I were talking about if I asked them about fancy shawl dancing. Goodness, I wished I lived closer to Cherokee, NC, or Tahlequah, OK. That would make everything so much easier.

              In the meantime, maybe some of the more experienced dancers here on the forums can help us!

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              • #8
                I myself are from Alabama and we don't have many fancy shawl dancers at all. I will try to help as much as I can . Also maybe some people on here can help us out . I'll keep my fingers crossed.

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                • #9
                  I myself are from Alabama and we don't have many fancy shawl dancers at all. I will try to help as much as I can . Also maybe some people on here can help us out . I'll keep my fingers crossed.
                  Definantly.

                  Are you full-Cherokee, or what? Not meaning to be nosy... :). but since we're both 14, I was wandering if you were like me, I have a few ndn traits, but look mostly white. I had ndn ancestors, and have been studying their culture for years and years. Or maybe you are a full-blood, and have been raised in your culture. It would be cool to meet someone my age like that!

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                  • #10
                    I have some traits but look more white I have like a little native blood in me but love my heritage and want more in me but I can't all I can do is learn my culture through my tribe. I love the smoky mountains we just came back from up there like two weekends ago. It was warm to be the winter. At least I have another person like me that is actually intersted in out heritage.
                    Last edited by CHEROKEE-N-PROUD; 01-19-2007, 07:43 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Hey there, I used to dance fancy and my mom and I sew fancy shawl regalias for people, so I thought I'd put in my 2 cents. As for how long the shawl should be, at least your height (because your arms from tip to tip equal your height). Usually I put additional inches so you can have some room to grab on to the edges. As far as colors go, I haven't heard any kind of rules of ones you can/can't use. The name of the dance, after all, comes from both the movements and the outfits! I think most girls just think of color combos and patterns that they like and go with it. So have fun dreaming up designs! What my mom does is get out markers and just draw different things until she comes up with something that looks cool. It works pretty well! Good luck and have fun :)

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                      • #12
                        You and Ahinawake don't live far from me. I have been fancy dancin for 15 yrs, I can tell you a couple of powwows I will be at that want be to far, and maybe you can get your parnets to bring you out and I can show you some steps. I've showed a few young girls how to shawl dance including my daughter. If they are still having Desoto Caverns I'll be there, Lawerenceville,Ga Memorial Day weekend, Canton,Ga Mother's Day, Rome, Ga Labor Day, just ask someone where Amanda is.
                        The look on a baby's face the first time they hear the drum is priceless.......

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                        • #13
                          Thank you very much!! :D

                          well I have my design and the material bought and thought out my design and I've also got my moccasins . I will inform my mother about it and see what she says because she wants us to dance in my tribes pow wow in april and I don't think i'll be ready so I need as much help as possible thank you all for your help .
                          Last edited by CHEROKEE-N-PROUD; 01-25-2007, 06:25 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Glad to help

                            Tell you what I'm going to give you my email address and I want you to email me with your's and I will give you my phone number and you or your mom can call me and I will help you as much as possible. I know alot of people who powwow that live in Alabama we probable know some of the same people
                            The look on a baby's face the first time they hear the drum is priceless.......

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Sorry I forgot to give you my email [email protected]
                              The look on a baby's face the first time they hear the drum is priceless.......

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