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Yuchi Dancing

On this, the second night, about six of the before-mentioned dances were performed. Although the general characteristics and functions of the dances have been described in the last chapter, a few of the peculiarities will be given again according to the actual cases as observed on both ceremonial occasions. All of the Yuchi dances were this night performed around the fire in the center of the square. The movement was from right to left, contra-clockwise. The steps of the dancers were short, the motion being chiefly in the leg below the knee. In general effect the dance steps look more like shuffling. The foot, being brought down flat, gives forth a sound earning for the dance the name of Stamp, or Stump Dance, among the whites. Male dancers held their arm nearest the fire, the left level, with their heads and the head slightly drooped, as they said, to protect their faces from the heat and glare of the fire. The true explanation of this is probably different, but is lost in obscurity. Women never assume this posture. Their arms were always at their sides when dancing, and their feet were never raised far from the ground. Motions were constantly made, as in the Buzzard dance when the arms of the performers were lowered and raised after the manner of a buzzard’s wings. On a tree at one side near the edge of the square a space of several feet of bark had been peeled off. Here a lot of red paint of mixed clay and grease had been smeared, and this was a source of supply for those...

The Tablita or Corn Dance

The question of physical condition is one less dependent upon diet than the mode of life which renders general development a result, No better test of a high grade of physique could be found than the prolonged and fatiguing dances, lasting for the greater part of as day, indulged in at all of the pueblos. I have witnessed three of these great dances and several minor ones. At San Domingo, August 12, 1890, 200 dancers, male and female, participated, led by 2 choruses, each of 40 male voices. This display being regarded the finest to be seen among pueblos, with the exception of that at Zuñi, I confine my description to the dance as I saw it there, with occasional allusions to those of Santa Clara and Laguna. The Tablita or corn dance has for its purpose supplication for rain. Most of the choruses chanted by the attendant musicians are invocations to the clouds. The tablet worn by the women upon their heads is figured with the scalloped lines of cumulus clouds, and on either side, and between them a bolt of lightning. In common with many of the old Indian rites among the Pueblos, this also has been utilized by the Catholic Church and made to serve for the support of a church ritual. Early in the day mass is said in the church and a sermon preached. The body of the congregation at these services is usually composed, of visiting Mexicans, the Indians maintaining an indifferent and fluctuating attendance. Throughout the village meanwhile active preparations are in progress for the dance. Feasting and bartering are at their...

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