Social Dances: Round Dance  

The round dance is a social dance where everybody is invited to participate including people wearing street clothes. The round dance offers a chance for people to greet each other and get in the powwow mood. The dancers form a circle and people join in as the song goes along. Sometimes the dancers hold hands, and sometimes they turn around and shake hands with the other dancers.

The basic Round Dance step
The round dance step is rather simple. Face the center of the arena. Lift your left leg and make a step to your left and bring your right foot next to your left foot. At the same time your body should move up and down in time with the drum; the drumbeat is accentuated with an alternating hard and soft beat. When you hear the hard beat, place your left leg on the ground and straighten your body in an upward motion. When hearing the soft beat, bend your knees slightly, move your right leg and place it next to your left leg.

The Lakota Friendship Round Dance
I
n Denmark the Lakota Friendship Round Dance is often used as a great way to get all the audience out on the dance floor and shake hands as they dance. This dance is usually placed right after the Grand Entry section.

The Lakota Friendship Dance was developed around 1989 by the Porcupine Singers from Pine Ridge, South Dakota, and was described by Michael T. Bugelski in the Whispering Winds Magazine (Summer/Fall 1990 issue).

Below describes how the dance is ususally performed in Denmark. Before the dance starts, a lead dancer should be appointed and made familiar with the following steps of the dance.

Facing the center of the arena, the dancers form a circle, and as the song starts they begin to dance a round dance step to their left (clockwise). Dancers can join the circle anytime.

At a suitable time when all the dancers have had a chance to get familiar with the round dance steps, the lead dancer steps forward towards the center of the arena, turns around to face the other dancers and starts shaking hands with them. Moving counterclockwise in this way, all the other dancers follow so that everybody gets to shake hands.

When the lead dancer has shaken hands with the last dancer in line he turns around again to face the center. This time he changes direction of his step; he now steps off on his right foot continuing in the counterclockwise direction. All the dancers follow.

When all the dancers face the center again, the song stops followed by a tail and one more verse. When the tail starts, the lead dancer steps off to his left changing the direction of the circle so that everybody now moves clockwise again as they did when the dance began.

The Lakota Friendship Song
The song as song by the Porcupine Singers goes as follows:

Mitakuye, mitakuye   -   My relatives, my relatives,
Nape aun we   -   I shake your hands.
Iyuskinyan   -  With happiness,
Macikalaka ca   -   I greet you.
Heya aun we   -   This is what I am saying.