Native American Dance

There are 510 federally recognized tribes in the US. Great diversity exist among the tribes in ethnic beliefs language and culture but there are some common beliefs and values. Cycles represented by a circle are very important, life cycle, year cycle. Community is valued and all share the earth as partners.  there is a strong connection between people and the natural world the goal is achieve harmony. To the Native American the whole earth is sacred. The round drum represents the universe and the steady beat is the pulse or heart at the center of the universe.
Pow Wow - This is a friendly gathering of a variety of Native Americans for the purpose of perpetuating friendly relationships, and transmitting from generation to generation the songs, dances, values, traditions and beliefs.

Resource:   The Circle of Stories website from PBS honors American Indian storytelling and the importance of that tradition.

Students create a dance that reflects four natural elements valued by the Native American population. this dance is an artistic interpretation
Grade Level: 2-4
Equipment: Yellow hoops to represent the sun, blue streamers to represent water, juggling scarves for bird feathers and  green foam paddles or green streamers for the plants.
Formation: Lines, and circles. Students are in small groups.

Students are organized into 4 groups and assigned a natural element. Sun, water, plants and animals.

Each group creates a dance using the props that represents the characteristics of the element
Sun: Yellow  Represented by slowly rising up, moving across the sky and setting down .
Water: Blue Represented by rain falling from the sky and a winding stream.
Plants: Green Represented by growing plants that reach for the sun and move in the wind.
Animals and Birds: Brown for the animals and multicolor for the birds Represented by animals and bird looking for food, moving on the ground or flying in the sky.

Each dance has three parts, An entrance to the middle of the space, a circle movement, and an exit from the space.

Part One: Entrance:

Choose a formation such as a single file line or partners standing side by side in two lines,

Choose a pathway, straight, curved or zig zag.

Choose a basic step.



Part Two: Center Circle:


Create a movement that moves in (forward) and out (backward) of the circle. Select a basic step

Create a movement that moves to the right and then to the left around the circle.  Select a basic step.


Part Three: Exit


Can be the same as the entrance or parts can be different.

Choose a formation such as a single file line, a line standing side by side, partners, a V formation.  Choose a pathway, straight, curved or zig zag.

Choose a basic step.






Use the assigned prop.