Pipe Dance of San Juan
Pipe Dance o f San Juan
I cannot reproduce the music which was used for this dance; but give that of a PIPE DANCE of the Chippewa, recorded by Frances Densmore (Chippewa Music, II, p. 294). Of the PIPE DANCE among these tribes, Miss Densmore says:
"The Pipe Dance was said to be the principal `good time dance' of the early Chippewa. It is very old; and, like all other dances, is believed to have come from the inanido. In this dance, a man carried a pipestem, and his body was supposed to represent a pipe. The dancer never rose erect, but took a crouching or squatting posture, trying to assume the form of a pipe as nearly as possible. Many contortions of the body were used, and the antics of the dancers were considered very amusing . . . . It was considered a test of courage for a man to brave the ridicule of the assembly, and seat himself where he would be asked to dance the Pipe Dance. In the early days, the men who danced this wore no clothing except the moccasins, which were a necessity to protect the feet.
"A characteristic of the music of this dance is that a sharp short beat of the drum is frequently given, followed by an instant of silence. When this drumbeat is heard, the dancer pauses in whatever attitude he may chance to be, and remains motionless until the drumbeat is resumed."' This pause is indicated in the music by the rest in each of the 3/4 time measures, and is a characteristic of much of the music and dancing of the Southwest.
The dance is a prayer for the rain clouds to form.
It is performed by two dancers.
(a) Holding a pipe at waist level in both hands, they bend th
body forward at each two steps, and backward at each two
enter with the back-trot step (2 steps to each meas
ure) 8 meas
(b) Stand perfectly still while the chorus continues th
song 4 mea
At the second and fourth of these four measures, the dance bend both knees quickly, and yelp once.
(c) Trot right, left, hold
(d) Drop foot, and bend knees, giving one yelp
I mea; I mead
(e) With back-trot step in place, and bending body as in (a),
but holding pipes up at arms' length and looking up at
them 4 meas.
(f) Trot, trot, hold i meas.
(g) Drop foot, bend knees, and yelp i meas.
(h) Quickly about face, and repeat whole in opposite direction.
lance; but ices Densiong these
dance' of is believed pipestem, never rose Lssume the body were sing . . . . :ule of the e the Pipe o clothing t.
short beat ~e. 'When le he may resumed." to 3/q. time lancing of
bend the each two, Lch meas8 meas.
inues the 4 meas. he dancers
i meas. i nneas.
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Last modified: October 15, 2016.