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Dance - 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 circle.

Chief among Indian dances were the Buffalo Dance, Calumet Dance, Sun Dance, and War Dance.

Related Information within this Site
[ Bell ][ Chaparral Cock ][ Drum ][ Hopi ][ Maize ]
[ Masks ][ Musical Instruments]
[ Scalp Dance ][ Snake Dance ]
[ Songs ][ Sun Dance ][ War Dance ][ Women ]