Beautiful Bird Dances

The Creeks and Their Dances (5)

November 13, 2021

By Ghost Dancer

THE FLAMINGO DANCE is a beautiful dance. If you have ever seen flamingos, you will know that their long, fluffy feathers are a soft pink in color. Dancers place these feathers on the arms, legs, and top of their heads. The dance is drummed at one and one-half beat rhythm. Males line up opposite the females and the dance begins with dancing in place, while bending forward with their necks and heads rubbing one another. Then at the sound of a hard beat on the drum, the dancers will leap into the air as the flamingo does. They flap their wings and bump their chests together. When the dancers hit the ground, they continue the dance with arms outstretched, and spin around in harmony with one another. Then they go back to the neck and head rubbing to start the sequence over again.

THE HERON DANCE is much older, but similar to the Flamingo Dance, except the dancers are adorned with blue heron feathers. The biggest difference in the Heron Dance is that when the couple jump up together, they hug, wrapping the feathers around each other, and spin while in the air. When they land, they separate. This is known as the heron’s love embrace. When herons are mating they stomp their feet to get the attention of the other, so this dance has a lot more jumping and being airborne.

THE PHEASANT DANCE: Now the pheasant is a very colorful bird, and its dance is one of beauty and skilled agility. This dance has a very fast beat. The dancers wear the headdress of pheasant feathers with lots of tail feathers extended out and wings on their arms. Jumping and spinning, the dancers leap up and lay out in the air like the pheasant does as it takes off in flight. Their feet come down and they do it all again. The pheasant is known for its colorful courtship dance, so when the beat starts to go faster, the dancers begin their roosters strut, showing off their athletic abilities and all their beautiful feathers. Mock challenges between dancers represent the struggle of the battle for the right to court the females, just as a pheasant does. With heads lowered and shoulder and neck feathers fluffed up, the dancers circle one another, and then leaping in the air, they throw their feet at each other. This dance goes on for as long as the drum continues playing. The females love watching this dance for they know the males are dancing for them.

Bird dances are conducted by the Bird Clan and are done to receive the bird’s gift of dance and the beauty and power of its courtship.

Respectfully, Ghost

Ghost Dancer July 2017 ©

Published by E.P.Dixon

I am an elder and a seeker. Many years ago I was given the honorary name, Sings Many Songs by a lifelong friend and leader of Creek, Shawnee, Cherokee, Métis descent. The name was a gift to honor my interest and prayers for his people and my work to help him restore and keep alive the rightful place of the Creek Peoples in the history and cultural fabric of the Southeastern homeland. I’m an outsider by nature, always looking through cracks in the fences of life, just trying to make sense of the world. Being an outsider can be lonely sometimes, but oh, what treasures can be found in most unexpected places. The name “Sings” began to take on a its purest meaning as I reached out for understanding and came to know some remarkable Native warriors hidden in a world of their own. As a writer and editor of sorts, my goal with Journeys of the Spirit is to give voice to two who have so enriched my life and my journey. My hope is more and more people will come to know, love, and understand these two kind and generous Native elders through their own stories, art, wisdom, knowledge, humor and insights into worlds few of us can even imagine as we follow their personal “Journeys of the Spirit.” I may also have a few worthwhile things to say from time to time, and I might even invite some other writers to share stories about their spiritual journeys.

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