Groundhog Day is celebrated on the 2nd of February yearly. This tradition has movies and music for it, but no line dance. I took pieces of the Cherokee Indian Groundhog dance and created a seasonal line dance.
History of Groundhog Day
So how did we come to determine spring based on a large ground squirrel? These marmot-like creatures come out for Imbolc the Celtic holiday marking the beginning of spring between the winter solstice and spring equinox. A newspaper editor in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania pitched this German tradition of checking a badger’s shadow to determine the start of spring to the Punxsutawney groundhog club in 1887. They agreed to check the groundhog’s shadow on the 2nd of February, and it has been a national event since, inspiring moves and music since.
Native American Groundhog Dance
Native Americas also have their groundhog traditions. Jame Mooney penned one of the Apache fables of how the groundhog tricked a pack of wolves out of eating him by doing a dance. This is said to be the inspiration for the Apache traditional groundhog dance. This dance demonstrates how Apache couples work together to build a home.
Princesses of the earth
For this demonstration I used two cartoon Indian princesses, Tiger Lily and Pocahantas. Most Indian tribes do not have princesses. However, there are a few exceptions of tribes in the Pacific Northwest that had royalty and Indian princesses. Ironically, both Indian princesses were motherless.
Tiger Lily was inspired by the penny dreadful publications that peter pan author Barre liked to read. She is the strong daughter of the chief with respect from her tribe. She had special responsibilities and could stay with the chief for a special dance in Peter Pan. In Tiger Lilys dance to what makes the red man red (later re-written what makes brave girl brave) was based on the traditional Indian “Moon Dance.”
Pocahontas is the daughter of Chief Powhatan of the Mataponi tribe in Virginia. Her Indian name was Matoaka, which means “flower between two streams.” While in Europe a dancing maser composed an English country dance called the Indian princess in her honor. These strong women are the inspiration for this groundhog dance.
Groundhog line dance tutorial.
Adapted from Cherokee Indian dance.
8 steps forward hands digging our Burrough like a groundhog.
8 steps back hands digging our Burrough like a groundhog.
8 steps circle to right hands scooping down to up.
8 steps circle to left hands scooping down to up.
Song: Dawn of Man – Quincas Moreira
Dancer: Holly Tomazin
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