Dakota Dance Styles
Dancing is a beautiful embodiment of Native American culture. Native American people express themselves through various dance styles, divided by age and gender. Movement in Regalia vary based on the dance type and the person. Dancers often create their own regalia with historical, spiritual, and personal significance.
Women typically dance traditional, and jingle, fancy shawl.
While men dance traditional, fancy, grass and chicken styles. These dances are important to the history of Native American peoples, and they will continue to be practiced for generations to come.
Golden Age Open to men and women dancers ages 55-64.
Regalia & Style: Competitions may include Men’s Traditional/Southern Straight, Men’s Fancy/Grass, Women’s Traditional, Women’s Southern Buckskin/Cloth, and Women’s Fancy/Jingle.
Elders Open to men and women dancers ages 65 and older.
Regalia & Style: Any style may be performed in this category.
Women’s Traditional This dance exemplifies elegance, grace, dignity, and modesty.
Regalia and Style: Northern dancers often dance in place with their shawl and dress fringe swaying, while southern dancers move around the circle.
Women’s Jingle Dress Originated from the Anishinaabe culture as a ceremonial dance.
Regalia and Style: Dresses have rows of jingles; traditionally, the feet barely raised above the ground, but modern dance steps.
Women’s Fancy Shawl A relatively new dance from when women switched over from blankets to shawls.
Regalia and Style: Beaded Brightly Shawls and colorful dresses are worn.
The History of Dance and Regalia Styles
Men’s Traditional and hunters
Warriors danced out the story of their battles or hunting.
Regalia and Style: Dancers may carry shields or weapons; northern and southern styles are distinct, each with their own competition.
Men’s Grass Traditionally performed after moving camp to help prepare the earth in a good way for the people.
Regalia and Style: Long flowing fringe represents grass; dancers shake flatten prairie grass in the wind, while doing fancy footwork.
Men’s Fancy Originated in Oklahoma in the 1900s and sparked contest dancing.
Regalia and Style: Dancers wear, colorful bright regalia with two bustles; fancy footwork, and the double-step.
Men’s Chicken One of the oldest dance styles, originating from the Blackfeet Nation.
Regalia and Style: Dancers imitate the prairie chicken mating call dance.
Tiny Tots Open to children ages 5 and under.
Regalia & Style: Children in regalia are invited to dance. We love to see you dance!