Friday, August 2, 2013

The Jingle Dress Dance

Jingle dress dancer, Mescalero parade, Mescalero, New Mexico

There were jingle dancers at the Mescalero parade in July.

Here, a woman tells the story - several stories, in fact - about the history and meaning of the jingle dress dance.

An excerpt:
One of the most profound elements of Jingle Dress dancing is its spiritual power, which originates as an energy generated from the sound of the cones that sing out to the spirits when dancers lift their feet in time with the drum. The very act of dancing in this dress constitutes a prayer for healing, and often spectators, musicians, and other dancers will make gifts of tobacco to a dancer and request that she pray for an ill family member while she dances. An example of hidden spirituality and ritual within a public forum, the ever-unfolding story of the Jingle Dress Dance is unique in Indian Country. There is little fanfare and no public announcement when the Jingle Dance is performed as a healing prayer, only a quiet circulation of family members from dancer to dancer, a whispered request, and a quick nod of thanks by both parties.

Jingle dress dancer, Mescalero parade, Mescalero, New Mexico

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