American natives have a type of dance called the jingle dress dance which is mostly seen in powwow competitions and sang by girls and women. It is believed that the ojibewea tribe was the first to invent the jingle dress dance which was then adopted by other neighboring tribes. The jingle dance culture has a rich history and is quite enjoyable to see the women and girls dancing and listening to the sounds made by the metal cones. Jingling sounds are produced by the bumping of the metal cones and this is where the name originates from. It is believed that the dress was revealed to a medicine man in his dreams by the spirit guides.
When the man was dreaming about the dress, his granddaughter had a disease and the spirit guides said the man should make a jingle dress for the girl. It is likely that the girl was suffering from the pandemic flu that had hit the parts of the American native communities. The dress would heal the girl from the disease if she wore the dress and danced in it. Once the dress was made, the community came together so they could witness the girl dancing but they had to help her since she was weak. After some time the girl regained her strength and danced without the help from the people as she was completely healed. From that time, the dress has been used for healing as well as a way of the tribe showing pride in the dress.
The dance can be participated by women and girls of all age and is usually performed during ceremonies as well as for competition. The jingle dress is made using metal cones which are closely attached to each other on the dress and gives sounds as the girls dance. Although the dress was hand made in the past it is now produced by machines that can make them more attractive. The dress can be designed with various colors and mostly sparkling and shiny materials are used and fringes, beads and other items used to decorate. The dancers wear a leather belt around their waists to secure the dress round their waists.
Dancers usually wear matching moccasins designed using similar pattern and design as the dress on their feet. The sound is produced when the metal cones hits each other and this requires the dancers to move feet in time with the drums for good tunes. The dancers move in zigzag motions that represent the normal journey one passes through life. The dancers keep feet low and perform other stances to entertain the crowd. Special songs and drumming is made to go along with the jingle dress dance.