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THE DANCES

WOMEN'S JINGLE DRESS

This dance has its origins in northern Minnesota and was introduced to the Pan-Indian community by the Ojibwe people. As the story goes, a medicine man's granddaughter was very ill. He had a dream in which a spirit wearing the jingle dress came to him and told him to make one of these dresses and put it on his daughter to cure her. When he awoke, he and his wife proceeded to assemble the dress as described by the spirit of his dream. When finished, they and others brought his granddaughter to the dance ha ll and she put on the dress. During the first circle around the room, she needed to be carried. During the second circle around the room, she could barely walk and needed the assistance of several women. The third circle around the room she found she coul d walk without assistance and during the fourth circle around the room, she danced. The jingle dress is made of a cloth, velvet or leather base adorned with jingles made out of a shiny metal. Traditionally and still common today, the jingles are made from the lids of snuff cans. These are bent and molded into triangular bell shapes and attached to the dress with ribbon or fabric in a pattern designed by the dancer. It takes between 400 and 700 jingles to make an adult jingle dress.

The dance itself is designed to incorporate the sound of the jingles by allowing them to move; that is, to make them jingle, or be made "happy." The steps are controlled and do not invlove high kicking or twirls. Often the steps are in a zigzag pattern t o reflect the zigzagging involved in the journey of life. Similar to Men's Grass dancing, the feet often do parallel movements. Similar to a Women's Traditional dancer, the Jingle Dress dancer also raises her fan when the "honor beats" are played on the d rum. As in all dances, the Jingle Dress dancer must stay in time with the drum beat and stop with both feet on the ground on the final beat.

Men's Traditional Women's Traditional Men's Grass Dance Women's Jingle Dress Men's Fancy Dance or
Men's Fancy Bustle Dance
Women's Fancy
Shawl Dance