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Powwow Competitive Dancing; Men's Grass Dance
Traditional blessing dance serves as basis for modern competition
Go Native American, photos, Joe Mann
Boys grass dance, August 11, 2007, Verizon Center, Washington DC. Photo Joe Mann
The grass dance is believed to have originated with the Omaha. Among southern tribes and nations there it is believed the grass dance is related to warrior society. In the north, it was thought to be part of a land blessing ritual. The dance is said to represent balance. The dancer's regalia may be covered with lots of yarn, that sway, grasslike, as he dances. Some say the name comes from stomping down the grass at the spot chosen for sacred dancing, others that the name name “grass” comes instead from the old habit of tying braids of sweetgrass to the dancer's belts, producing a swaying effect. Today's Grass Dancer resembles a multicolored swaying mass of yarn or fringe on the dance floor. The Grass Dance is a very fluid and bendable style, with the dancers trying to move their fringe in as many places as possible at once.
The photos accompanying this section were taken during a boys grass dance competitive round at the National Powwow in Washington DC on August 11, 2007. The division is for competitors aged 6-12. There were some young boys but most appeared to be near the upper age limit.
Boys grass dance competition, August 11, 2007, Verizon Center, Washington DC. Photo Joe Mann
I got much better photos of the grass dancing competition.
Boy in grass dance competition, August 11, 2007, Washington DC. Photo Joe Mann
Boy from grass dance competition, August 11, 2007, Washington DC. Photo Joe Mann
Grass dancer in the spotlight, August 11, 2007, Washington DC. Photo Joe Mann
Grass dancer in the spotlight's glare, August 11, 2007, Washington DC. Photo Joe Mann
Two young boy grass dancers, August 11, 2007, Washington DC. Photo Joe Mann
Three more young boy grass dancers, August 11, 2007, Washington DC. Photo Joe Mann
This young man held himself up so well His outfit was grerat and he danced with conviction, August 11, 2007, Washington DC. Photo Joe Mann
One of the judges of the children's grass dance competition at the 2007 National Powwow in Washington DC Photo Joe Mann
There is also a page on fancy dance with pictures from the 2007 National Pow Wow.
This site would not be possible were it not for the gracious provision of the template and its publication.