Many participate in social dance

There was a great turnout for the Pajola Otonwahne Omniciye Social Dance that was held Saturday, January 4, at the Martin Activity Center. Families and youth came and enjoyed a meal, socializing and special dances. A delicious meal of buffalo soup, frybread, wojapi with a turkey meal with the trimmings was served.

This is the second of a series of social dances and feed with a third planned in February. The February social event will highlight ‘sweetheart’ specials. Also, with the February event, an afternoon of community conversation will be held with community leaders and members with a trauma informed focus on safety and healing.

Historically, social dances were held in various communities for people to engage in socializing and have fun and to renew energy. The special dances held Saturday were the hat and boot dance, in which people can dance with their regalia and add cowboy hats and boots. The dance came about historically when the rodeo crowd was combined with the pow wow dances.

Other dances were the rabbit dance for couples, switch dance, men’s fancy dance, drum contest, potato dance and the masquerade dance to bring in the new year. With the masquerade, people would dress in costume, unidentified, dancing, and would end by choosing an individual to unmask them. The potato dance youth and adults would pair up and dance to the drum pinning a potato between their foreheads. The potato dance would offer lessons in patience and working together.

The rabbit dance is a historical dance in which couples would do a certain step and it was reminder of harmony and balance between couples. The men’s fancy shawl dance brings about an awareness of men understanding women’s roles. Vice versa with the switch dance.

There was judging with the best going away with a prize. Arlana Bettelyoun, one of the event organizers said, “Coordinating this social dance and bringing families with their children together to have fun and socialize is a purpose of the event.” She encourages the community to come and eat, watch and engage. Robert Two Crow, the announcer, educates participants about cultural dances and the meanings.

For more information contact committee members Arlana Bettelyoun (605) 899- 2827, Cora Whiting 407-1130, Amanda Takes War Bonnett 685-1433, Roberta Wounded Head 840-2054 and Karen Bush 407-8793.

502 Second Avenue, Martin, SD 57551 • 605-685-6866 •