There are many legends surrounding the origin of the Jingle Dress Dance. In the most popular account, a spiritual person dreamed of four women wearing jingle dresses standing before him. In the dream they taught the making of the dress, the sorts of songs that were appropriate and the way the dance was performed. Upon waking, the spiritual person asked family members to assist in making the dresses and carrying out the other aspects of the dream.
The dance was a gift from the Creator to the Ojibway people for the purpose of healing. The dance was also present in the Lakota or Dakota tribes and has spread among other tribes.
nearly dying out, the dance regained popularity and is
now a common category at most dance competitions.
dress features tiers of seven rows of jingle cones.
The cones may have originally been metal
Copenhagen snuff and are now made of various other
metal materials. Some instances of use of other noise
making materials occur, such as bird bones or deer
hooves. Dresses are decorated with ribbon, appliqué,
paint, and beadwork with matching beaded leggings,
moccasins, purse and hair ornaments.
feathers and plumes are worn and a fan is carried and
raised during the honor beats of the song. Old Style
Jingle dancers do not wear plumes and don't carry a
fan; they raise their hands on the honor beats in
order to receive healing.
Steps are slower whereas the Contemporary Jingle dance is more.
Judges will be looking for intricate, controlled footwork that
mirrors the original style of the dance. Personal presentation
of the dance is important, with other elements, such as the
appropriate use of the fan, poise, demeanor and endurance are