dance involves a slow-moving or non-moving bouncing step, rhythmically dipping
and swaying to the beat of the drum. Dresses of buckskin, wool or other material
are heavily decorated with beading, quillwork, elk teeth, bone or antler or
shells. The colors for this dance tend to be more subdued than in other outfits.
At the Gathering of Nations eleven judges will evaluate the dancers in each
category. Judging examines outfits - how well the various pieces contribute to
the ensemble (is it cohesive) and the quality of the beadwork or other
handcrafting - and the dancing itself.
dance of traditional women of the Southern part of North America differs from
the Northern Traditional Dance while incorporating some of the same elements. It
is an elegant, slow, graceful walk and gentle sway in time to the music of the
drum. The gentle motion of the shawl folded over the arm must be in harmony with
the motion of the body and with the drumbeat.
gentle tinkle sound accompanies the dance as dresses decorated with many small
tin cones near the hem of the dress and tin tubes on the beaded pouches that
decorate the belt. Beautiful but heavy breastplates and chokers made of bone and
crystal beads, and intricately beaded medallion necklaces, purses and buckskin
moccasins and leggings are the necessary pieces of the outfit.
piece may be decorated with beadwork that matches or compliments the dancer's
favored color. A beaded drag hangs at the center back of the dress and a silver
or beaded drop hangs from the front of the belt. Often a beaded crown completes
are as many variations on the dress as there are individuals. The origin of each
piece and its use also varies from tribe to tribe but many pieces have
originated from the tools that women carried and used most often in their daily
work such as awl cases, knife pouches and even straps used as horse whips or to
bundle and carry things.