September 22, 2001

Dance Regalia of the Fancy Shawl Dancer


This article gives a general overview of the proper attire for a Fancy Shawl Dancer. Rather than the double-bustle the early Crow girls wore to dance the Fancy Dance, today’s Fancy Shawl dancer wears a dress made of a shiny fabric such as taffeta or satin. 

The skirt usually reaches to about mid-calf and is flared at the knee to allow for those fancy dance steps.

Rather than beadwork, designs are usually appliqued on with contrasting colors or sometimes done in sequined materials. A decorated matching vest is often worn.

Leggings are usually made of the same material and design as the dress, but also may be buckskin. Beaded or painted moccasins are worn on the feet. 

The accessories include a beaded belt or sometimes a silver concho belt, beaded barrette(s), hair ties and a single white or cream colored plume feather held by a barrette at the back of the head.

Traditionally this is an eagle plume, but more often today mariboo plumes are used, especially by younger girls. 

Of course, the final item is the shawl, traditionally with long flowing fringes along the bottom. 

Very rarely, the shawl is beaded or partially beaded, (very heavy to dance in), but most often it is appliqued in designs that have meaing to the owner. 

The shawl may be made from the same material as the dress, a contrasting or complementing color, or may be wool. 


Legend of the Cherokee Butterfly Dance
Crow Explanation of How the Fancy Shawl Dance Competition Began
How the Ladies Fancy Shawl Dance Competition is Judged

Native American Dances
About Raven SiJohn

Leave a Reply