Powwows are American Indian events that feature, among other things, Native American dance and song, including one the newest styles, Fancy Shawl Dancer. These powwows are a celebration of heritage and traditions, and a way for Native Americans to connect with each other while keeping their culture alive through dance, song and storytelling. Most powwows are open to the public, offering opportunities to educate non-natives about their culture and traditions, including many different styles of Native American dance styles. While powwows occur year-round, most are held between Memorial Day and Labor Day throughout the US and Canada. They are an important part of Native American life and lots of fun for all who attend. For a list of Native American events, see our Native American Dance Calendar.
The Women's Fancy Shawl Dance is a beautiful and very strenuous dance typically performed by younger ladies and girls at Native Americans events. It is a fast dance that requires stamina and gracefulness, along with intricate footwork. Each dancer wears a fancy shawl decorated with colorful designs made of appliqué, ribbons and painting. The shawl has long fringe or ribbons that flow with the movements of the dancer. Fancy Shawl Dancers create the illusion of a butterfly floating through the air by dancing light on their feet and twirling around with their shawl extended like butterfly wings.
Women's Fancy Shawl regalia seen at Native Americans events include a dress or skirt, leggings, moccasins, and a beautifully decorated fancy shawl. The shawl is worn draped over the shoulders and is usually made of colorful lightweight fabric. It is decorated with appliqués, paint, and ribbons in a way that has meaning to the dancer. The dress or skirt and leggings can either be plain or decorated, but they are made of fabric and colors that coordinate with the fancy shawl.
Several Native American tribes are source of "Butterfly Legends". A Shoshone legend, is often referred to in articles about fancy shawl dancing. In summary, this legend tells of a beautiful butterfly who lost her mate in a battle. In her grief, she wrapped herself in her cocoon and traveled the world over, stepping on each stone until she found beauty in one and was able to start her life anew. The Fancy Shawl dancers renactment this legend in many of their movements. Bright colors and bead work adorn the dress and fringed shawl which is held out as the dancer steps and twirls, representative of the butterfly's wings.
Crazy Crow Trading Post has long been your number one source for powwow craft supplies for your Native Americans dance clothes in general, and Fancy Shawl Dancer regalia in particular. This photo gallery represents Women's Fancy Shawl Dance outfits, both Northern and Southern Plains, mostly taken at Gathering of Nations Pow Wow in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We thank Derek Matthews of Gathering of Nations, and others who have given permission to present these photos in this gallery.
Crazy Crow Trading Post -Crafts Supplies for Native Americans Events Dance Clothes & Accessories!