American Indian Dances

American Indian Dances

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Performed by


Native Words



Night Chant The dance is part of a ceremony that takes nine days to perform. It can be danced by all men or by both men and women. Anywhere from 12 to 20 dancers can take part. Formation is two parallel lines at one corner of the dancing area. Navajo
Rabbit Dance The Rabbit Dance can be classified as a very popular social-type dance. Couples line up at one end of the dance area. Inside hands around each others waist, free hand held along the side. Sioux
Sun Dance A sacred ceremony that takes four days and involves men and women dancing facing the tree in the center of the circle. Sioux
This is a ceremonial song and cannot be used outside of it's original context, so it is not posted here.
Omaha Dance A couples dance that may follow a sun dance. Dancers dance in a circular formation with partners arms around each other's waist. Sioux
Devil Dance The story: A happy warrior joyously enters the dancing area and dances around. Suddenly, a black evil spirit enters filling the atmosphere with a sinister power. The dancer weakens under the spell, and struggles to shake it off, but in vain, and finally falls to the ground, the victim of the evil one. The black spirit dances his devilish delight over his triumph. Then a medicine man enters with a holy wand, the Evil one falters in his dance under the spell he cannot contemplate. Seeing the wand of the medicine man, his anger quells up and he charges the holy one. In the ensuing struggle between the powers of good and evil, the evil spirit gradually gains the upper hand. The retreating Medicine Man, motions for three more Medicine Men and the combined power of the four wands overcome the Evil Spirit, and he runs off never to return again. The warrior rises and dances again with all his original power and glory. Apache
Eagle Dance San Ildefonso
Harvest Dance Zuni
Rain Dance Formation: Two lines of dancers, men in one, women on the other. Zuni
Indian War Dance Two groups of dancers numbering from 8 to 12 in each group with a designated leader. Each dancer has a tomahawk, war club, spear or any other weapon. They enter the dance area and face each other, each group on one side of the dance area. Plains
Snake Dance Any number of dancers may participate, more than 20 is recommended. They stand close together, single file, leader at head of line. This is sort of a Follow the leader dance, and dancers must keep their distance through-out. Flathead
Pow-Wow Dance A group of dancers from anywhere from 10 to 15. From this group, 4 are selected in advance. These 4 should be good and versatile dancers, and at the pre-arranged signal, will come forward into the center and dance in a circular manner. (They are called the Spot dancers.) Canadian Plains
Dog Dance The story: A tribe of Indians had a very lean year. They were very hungry, and desperate. One night at the Council Fire, the Chief said, "We shall go forth on a hunt, and if we find Buffalo, we shall give our Dogs a big feast." So it was, the hunt was successful, many buffalo were killed, and when the hunters returned to their village, a great feast and dance was given in honor of the Dogs of the Village. Plains