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National Events

Group Dance Competition



  1. Definitions of Group Dancing
  2. Acceptable Historical Group Dances
  3. Time Limit
  4. Registration
  5. Research
  6. Recognition and Awards
  7. Important Notes

I. Definition of Group Dancing

A. Group dance teams shall be made up of four (4) or more (at least three of whom must be dancers). All team members must be from the same lodge. A team may perform a maximum of two (2) specific group dances. However two dances for presentation are not necessary, it is an option. The judges look for quality rather than quantity. Also, consider that if a single dance is done it should be long enough for the judges to properly evaluate the presentation.

B. The dance(s) must be historical group dance(s) of specific tribes- therefore - northern plains or pueblo are not appropriate because they are culture areas, not tribes. Inter-tribal is even less specific. The dance(s) and costuming should represent one particular tribe during a particular time in their history.

C. No section teams or teams made up of members from more than one lodge may enter the competition. All members MUST be from the same lodge.

D. All team participants must be under twenty-one (21) years of age at the time of the conference, be registered members of the Order of the Arrow, and registered conference participants.

E. Team dancing is a coordinated group effort. It is not a series of solos grouped under one title.

F. Size of team-no preference is given to large or small teams and there is no reason to separate them. The judges look for quality of presentation and the selection of dance(s) suitable to the lodge dance team and the resources available to them.

G. Synchronized line dancing, as done at modern pow wows is NOT appropriate for Historical Group Dance competition.

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II. Acceptable Historical Group Dances

In choosing the dance(s) in which you will perform, consider the following:

A. Dances must be NON-RELIGIOUS and in good taste.

B. Society, clan, or family dances are acceptable ONLY if written permission is granted by the Tribal Council, society, clan or family of the specific tribe from which the dance comes.
Note: SUCH TYPEWRITTEN PERMISSION MUST BE INCLUDED IN THE BOUND PACKET REQUIRED FOR REGISTRATION. Therefore, permission must be requested far enough in advance to meet the registration packet deadline. Without permission the dance will not be allowed.

C. Tribal councils have asked that Scouts refrain from performing the following dances THESE DANCES ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE FOR CONFERENCE COMPETITION.

  1. Masked dances of: Pueblos, Apache, Iroquois, Creek, Cherokee Creek, or Northwest Coast tribes. A mask is defined as anything that covers the face of the wearer hiding his true identity.
  2. The Ghost Dance, The Pipe ceremony, The Pipe Dance, The Sun Dance, The Hopi Snake Dance, and the Peyote Ritual.

D. Dances that are kept so secret that information on them is incomplete should be avoided. You must have accurate information.

E. No protected species parts allowed on any attire. Please be aware of State and Federal laws regarding endangered species parts.

F. Within the guidelines found in the U.S. Code as to the American Flag, flags are not to be used as wearing apparel. With this in mind, no type of U.S. Flag(s) will be permitted as a part of dance attire and should be removed prior to the conference. Flag motifs in quillwork and beadwork are acceptable.

G. National Order of the Arrow Face Paint Policy: Order of the Arrow National Conferences and Activities conducted beyond the individual lodge will not permit face paint, body paint or wigs to be used in social or competition dancing or in ceremonies or ceremonies competition.

H. The Boy Scouts of America policy regarding weapons will be followed.

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III. Time Limit

Fifteen (15) minutes total time on stage. Total time begins with the announcement by a team member. This total time includes: prop/scenery set up (if any); narrative; dance(s) plus costume changes (if any) and the removal of any props or scenery.

NOTE: Scenery is not necessary. No score will be reduced for lack of it. Some teams have enhanced their score for general effect and impression with the creative use of scenery produced and moved by other lodge members who want to participate in a different way in the presentation. This is fine; however, if you do choose to use scenery, keep it simple. Set-up and take down of scenery will reduce your dance time since as stated above everything must fit the fifteen (15) min. time slot. Without scenery you can earn top scores with excellent dancing, spacing, costuming, and hand props.

NOTE: All team members should be prepared to talk with the judges (if asked) after their presentation.

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IV. Registration

To register for Historical Group Dance competition, use the pre-registration form for Group Dance. Follow the distribution instructions on the form and submit five (5) copies of the following research material, not later than June 16, 2000, to:

Mr. Arthur Werner
172 Louvaine Dr.
Buffalo. NY 14223-2744.

Late submission will result in a deduction of scoring points.

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V. Research

In addition to the five (5) copies submitted to Mr. Werner, two (2) complete copies of your research material should be brought to NOAC. ALL RESEARCH MUST BE TYPE WRITTEN AND ASSEMBLED IN A SUITABLE BINDER, AND MUST INCLUDE:

A. A description of the dance(s) as you will perform them.
B. The historical background of the dance(s).
C. The historical background of the song(s) used in the dance(s).
D. A clear description of the props used. Include pictures and/or drawings.
E. A clear description of the outfits you will wear for the dance(s). Please include pictures and/or drawings.
F. A description of the music & accompaniment you will use (See "C" above).
G. A complete bibliography of references you have used to research your dance(s),( i.e., books, publications, people).
H. A copy of the letter or permission from the tribal council, society, clan, or family as required for certain dances.
J. Name, address, and phone number of a contact person representing the team.
K. NOTE PLEASE: Xeroxed pages from any published works are NOT acceptable. Due to a lack of VCR equipment video tapes are NOT acceptable.
L. Research booklets should be a minimum of eight (8) typewritten pages, not to exceed fifteen (15) typewritten pages, (photos and drawings/diagrams are not part of this limit).

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VI. Recognition and Awards

A. Awards will be given to the top finishing teams according to the judges' discretion.
B. Awards for authenticity may be given if deemed appropriate.
C. Certificates will be awarded to each entering team.
D. The top team will be given the opportunity to perform at the American Indian Show on Tuesday, August 1, 2000.

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VII. Important Notes

A. Group Dance Competition will be held on Tuesday, August 1, 2000.
B. The chairman of each dance team must check with the American Indian booth or office on Saturday, July 29, 2000.
C. There will be a meeting of all judges and leaders of the teams in competition at 10:30 p.m., on Saturday, July 29, 2000. A representative of each entering team must be present at this meeting.
D. Any questions regarding the Historical Group Dance Competition should be addressed to:

Arthur Werner
172 Louvaine Dr.
Buffalo, NY 14223-2744.

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[American Indian Activities Committee]

[Letter from the CVC] [Individual Dance Competition Rules] [Group Dance Competition Rules] [Group Dance Competition Judging Crieria] [Team Singing Competition Rules] [Craft Fair Guidelines] [Outfit Competition Criteria]

Revised 5/2/00.