Ken Rahaim, Smithsonian Institution
Men's Fancy Dancer

Pow Wow Dance Style Origins: Men's Fancy Dance, Part 4


This dance, also known as the Bustle Dance, is said to have originated in Oklahoma. It originated in the 1950s to attract pow wow visitors. The dance

is flashy, colorful and requires stamina, strength and coordination; therefore, it is usually performed by young men. Fancy Dance movement is faster than

any other dance.

Distinguishing the Men’s Fancy Dance outfit is the twin bustle, decorated with a colorful fringe that flows freely while the dancer performs the

ruffle with fast foot movements. The fringe’s many colors are said to represent the Rainbow Spirit. The dancer wears a headdress roach with two feathers that

are kept moving throughout the dance; at times, the dancer’s face cannot be seen because of the flowing fringe. Dancers also carry decorated coup sticks.


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