The Red Earth Annual Celebration held in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma has become a way of recalling the ancestral traditions, as well as developing a sense of pride in the Native American culture to new generations. Each dance is rich in symbolism. Attending a pow wow with a broader understanding of each of the contest dances most certainly will make the experience more powerful.

Fancy War Dance

Following the rhythm of the drum with the steps, the motion of the head and the flow of body as the dancer expresses his own emotions, is what the judges look for in this dance of valor. Since the styles are individual, the expression of the emotion of the music and the change of pace from the slower northern style to the faster southern beat are also important. As in all Native American dancing, finishing in the exact time with the song is significant in the judging.

Grass Dance

The motion of the bodies should cause the flowing regalia to move in a way reminiscent of the long, blowing grass of the prairie. It should be danced in perfect time to the music, responding as the grass does to motion of the wind. This dance is an expression of the harmony of the universe.

Men's Northern Traditional Dance

Most interesting is watching the story line develop as each dancer challenges the enemy. Even with the slow tempo, the rhythm must be in harmony with the drum. One may enjoy trying to interpret each motion and compare the different ways dancers imitate the eagle or the porcupine.

Men's Southern Straight Dance

The dancers are judged on their ability to stay in step with the beat and to look very convincing in their search. Pay special attention to the "story line," which reveals itself in the actions of the dancers. Look for differences in regalia which may denote tribal differences.

Ladies' Southern Cloth Dance

The Ladies' Cloth Dance is one of dignity, and that attitude should be maintained throughout. Judging includes the ability of the dancer to stay in time with the drum, to create a sway of the shawl and to stop in time with the drum.

Ladies' Traditional Buckskin Dance

Discipline is essential to the slow, graceful movements of this dance. Dancing in perfect harmony with the drum, while never breaking the sedate spirit is the essence. The dips and sways are executed with no break in dignity.

Fancy Shawl

Since each participant in the Fancy Shawl dance has her own individual style, how well the steps and motions express and harmonize with the drum is the essence. Being in time with the beat is important, as is the ability to end the dance precisely.

Jingle Dress

Dance steps and body movement which are not in time to the music are easily detected because of the music of the dress itself. Pride and grace is demanded in the attitude of the dance, and a certain reverence should be exhibited.

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