Dancing in all cultures has been a way to express emotions, to celebrate, to welcome and to honor. No where is that expression more beautiful or unique than in the Native American dancing.
Native American dances have a variety of different styles among the traditional genres. There are dances for men, women, and groups. Dances welcome, celebrate, honor, communicate, express feelings, reveal artistry, warn and prepare folks for certain occasions, everything from planting and harvesting to war.
Many of the unique dances also involve certain types of headdress, costume and decorations. They ordinarily exhibit special movements and color, some done to welcome and attract visitors.
The fastest and brightest of the fancy dance is that done by men. It is done alone with rapid feet movement and often done just for visitors. It has been typically a dance done by young men, again to attract visitors, initiated during the 1920’s to entertain the curious. Often non- Native Americans will associate certain dances with the culture itself, when a number of dances were simply created as a way of entertaining tourists, as the fancy dance, done principally in Oklahoma, is done.
The Native American dance, according to some experts, is a mix of ceremonial and social function. It’s also done to gather energy for healing and to honor the different stages of life while bringing people together throughout the different generations as a way of demonstrating how responsibility is shared from one generation to another. It reveals the closeness of people and also is a time simply to have fun.
From 1680 to 1951 Indian dancing was illegal in parts of the United States, Mexico and Canada. No longer is that true so there has been an outpouring of powwow dancing done to educate and entertain.
At the cultural center of the Adai Native American nation in Natchitoces parish, the traditional dance is done regularly to entertain and educate visitors who come to look at artifacts and learn about the culture. On April 30 the Native Americans welcomed visitors from Texas and Louisiana who had come to a conference/workshop held to discuss issues regarding the El Camino Real Trail, a route that reveals some of the original pathways of trade, commerce and communication from the border of Mexico through Louisiana.
The beauty of the welcome dance done at the Cultural Center in late April is here for page visitors to enjoy.