domingo, 1 de julho de 2012

Why Native People dance.

Everyone knows that to dance is very important for all native american tribes, is part of their lives and a way of life..part of the red road. Some dance in Pow wows, some for cerimonies, some for tradition  but always there is a purpose on it for them...This time instead of making researches as usual I decided to ask some of my native friends talk about it, afterall who would know more than their own culture?? These dear friends very kindly offered me their explanation and allowed me to have them on my blog. So I do hope everyone enjoy the post and remember this is just some part of what people can say about Native American Dance because it can vary from tribe to tribe, place to place !!
 ( Sandra Prem )

." Well i guess first off I'd like to say that our cultures are cultures of art and artists. Without knowing it we all become artists in some way. Then when somebody chooses their art form, they spend years perfecting their talents. This spans across every part of our cultures. Even in our everyday life when you're First Nations/Native American there will always be something that is related to your art. Some of the forms of art we have are music, dance, bead work, and even in our ceremonies there is art. 

When you're talking about Dance specifically, even that is a huge topic to talk about. A dancer for us is a specialist in creating art and telling stories through movement. Like any dancer the music plays a key role and a dancer must either know every song or know enough about the music to hear whats going to happen next in the song. Once they can hear what the song is going to do they then react based on the music.

 While they are dancing they can tell stories of anything they can see in their head. You can watch dancers tell stories or a battle or sneaking up on an enemy. They will do their best to combine many moves to create art with their bodies. The purpose would be to bring joy to those that are watching. Needless to say that when you watch closely the dancers entire body is constantly in motion and although it seems effortless it takes years of practise to get to that point. 

Becoming a dancer is not a simple thing do or that somebody can just pick up and expect to start and be great at. Just preparing to be a dancer takes dedication.

Samshone Sampson 

Our dance regalia can sometimes take at a minimum 6 months to 2 years to make. Then once you start dancing there are many protocols that are required. Every person has things that they need to do and learn in order to have the right to dance and even wear some of the regalia pieces. There is even a ceremony that happens to introduce the dancer into the dancing circle. When a person doesn't follow these protocols it is well known within the dance circle. Also if a person doesn't learn the proper way to care for their regalia and learn to respect the sacred aspects of their regalia it is very noticeable. It takes many years to learn everything that a dancer must know and thats why most dancers start as small children. Even if you have been dancer since a small child you will be well into your adult years before you know everything you must and a recognized for your knowledge. Then you have to duty to help the younger generations to learn what you have learned. So being a dancer is no simple matter. 

As a dancer this becomes your art. It is something you spend countless hours over many years perfecting. It becomes a part of your every day life. Even if you don't dance every day you will think about it, repairing your regalia, working on a new piece to your regalia or planning for your next regalia. Dancing becomes not just a dance but something that you love and can not live without. 

Our dances come from our past but are not just ancient styles of dances. They have grown and developed with us in a modern way. Like any culture they change naturally with the people. We have dance competitions and this pushes all of our dancers to be in peak physical and artistic condition. The level of dedication and skill level that is needed will easily match any professional sport or dance style today. In today's society people often don't recognize our people and our dances for being a real dance but in comparison we dedicate just as much effort and skill as anybody in ballet, hip hop, jazz or any other kind of dance. 

The ultimate dream of any dancer is just the same as any other kind of dancer. We want to be recognized for what we do and be able to make a living doing what we love. Ultimately all dancers love what they do and will continue dancing until they can't walk anymore. At every pow wow you see everybody from two year old children to 90 years old men and women still living their dance. Our culture is fill with art and artists. Our dancers are artists in creating beauty and telling stories through movement. And we love it.." .. ( Jacob Pratt

Jacob Pratt 

Thank you very much Jacob Pratt for your pacience and time helping me and teaching all of us about this wonderful native art. 

 Some dance as living history, to show our younger generation the dances and what they represent. Every dance represents something; some represent history and some represent religion. Some dance to worship. Some dance to tell stories about the old days, like living history. Some dance in Stomp Dances for healing ( my dear cherokee friend )

My family and I we all dance. From the time we could walk we danced. It is a way for us to stay connected to one another and to the Native American community. But, we also strive to use the traditional influences and culture in a contemporary manner. As a way to bridge the gap between the past, present, and future. In this way we are seen as inspirational to many as a way to be more than what the system or society has allowed us to be.( Samsoche Sampson Seneca/Creek - Hoop dancer, flute player  )

Samshone Sampson

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