Southern Straight

 

                                                                                                   

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Southern Straight

Commonly referred to as the "Gentleman's Dance", Southern Straight dancers have two distinct styles of dance. The most popular style is the smooth "gliding" of the dancer as his back, neck, and head are stiff and straight while each step is an elegant stride placed gently on the ground to each beat of the drum. The other dance style is one of a rough bouncing motion. This Straight Dancer will look as if he is taking small hops or bobbing up in the air off the balls of his feet with quick sharp turns. Both of these dance styles will be seen frequently throughout Oklahoma and the Nation as these Straight Dancers demonstrate their skills. Most straight dancers will follow the same routine where they are visually tracing the surface of the earth for the tracks of the enemy or of his prey. When he finds either of these he will let out a loud "whoop" which alerts his brothers that he is hot on the trail. Straight Dancing began in the Southern Plains regions and many of the adornments that comprise their regalia will resemble this. A majority of these dancers will wear porcupine hair roaches on their heads with one eagle tail feather set in a small spinner. Others will wear otter hide/hair hats possibly with an eagle feather or plume at the back of the hat. A long strip of otter hide/hair, cloth, or a ribbon drapes from the back of the neck and comes close to touching the ground. These trails are usually adorned with round mirrors or beaded rosettes. Colorful silk or satin ribbon shirts are topped with either a fully beaded vest and breast plate or just the breast plate minus the vest. Buckskin or cloth leggings will be worn from the waist to the top of the moccasins and some are only adorned with fringe while others will have the edges or seams beaded. Bells or deer toes/dew claws are wrapped around the leg just underneath the knees. Moccasins can be fully beaded or very simple with just enough beads to make small strips around the bottom edges and the top center of the foot. Buckskin fringe and small tin cones are the norm on the top of the mocs. As with most of the men's dance styles, you will normally see sterling silver or beaded cuffs worn around the wrists. Typical hand carrying items will include an eagle tail feather fan in one hand and a weapon or simple staff in the other.


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