There are few pow wow dances as ebullient, or as symphonic, as the Jingle Dress Dance, especially when there are multiple female dancers moving together. The rows of metal cones, called ziibaaska’iganan in the Ojibew language, dangle from the dresses and rattle and clink as the dancers move. The traditional dance required the dancers to never cross their feet, never dance backward, and never complete circle. They kept footwork light, nimble, and close to the ground. Their dresses chirped as they moved. Modern Jingle Dress Dance allows more fluidity, the dancers can cross their feet, can complete full circles, and can dance backwards. The dresses are designed so they can move more freely, but the metal cones remain, singing along, while the dancer often carries a feather fan during the dance. The Jingle Dress Dance grew in popularity, and cultural significance, from the 1920s to around the 1950s, only to decline, go back to the dream-state from which it sprang, and rise back to life in the 1980s with the advent of pow wow expansion and competition.
… this story is told in Chapter Five by Brenda J. Child—during World War I, an Ojibew girl became very sick, possibly from the widespread Spanish influenza epidemic. Her father feared he was going to lose her, and sought a vision to save his daughter. He saw the dress and the instructions for the dance, and went about putting the dress together for his daughter, then asked her to do a few “springlike” steps, in which she always kept one foot on the ground. She started feeling better, and kept dancing. Finally, she recovered completely, and kept on dancing, and eventually she formed the first Jingle Dress Dance Society.
Going to be a beautiful morning, so I’m going to get the pups out for a walk before it gets to warm, then gardening before the afternoon thunderstorms roll in. Biggest goal is to mow the back yard – which the ducks will hate. They love hiding in the long, cool grass. I indulge them an only mow it every two weeks.
What’s up for y’all?