- Indians had a dance for almost every occasion - for war, for the hunt,
to bring rain, in thanks for a good harvest, and for welcoming the seasons.
Drums, rattles, and sometimes bone or reed flutes were used to aid the
dancers, and there were chants and songs.
Indian dance steps were not always simple.
Some were complicated and difficult to learn. In the old days men
and women always danced separately and with different steps to the same
dance rhythm, but later after the coming of the white man the Indians held
dances where both men and women danced together. These were purely
social dances, however, and their religious and ceremonial dances remained
the same as in former days.
Among most tribes, when the men danced
the heel and ball of the foot were lifted and brought down with force so
as to produce a thud. Among the many different steps were the toe-heel
step, the toe-heel drag, the side cross-step, the hop-step, and the elk-leap
step. The changes of position were slow, but the changes of attitude
were rapid and sometimes violent. Dancers waved their arms in some
dances, shook their weapons and gave loud whoops in others.
Women employed the shuffle, the glide,
and the hop and leap. In some tribes they danced alone, to insure
the safe return of their men from war. Usually dancers moved in a
direction against the sun, and when dancing with men, women were the inside
Chief among Indian dances were the Buffalo
Dance, Calumet Dance, Sun Dance, and War Dance.
within this Site
][ Chaparral Cock ][ Drum
][ Hopi ][ Maize ]
][ Musical Instruments]
Dance ][ Snake Dance ]
][ Sun Dance ][ War
Dance ][ Women ]