Standing Quiver Dance

Invariably, this simple shuffle dance opens social get-to-gethers. It is said that in ancient times warriors (the name is still applied to men whether engaged in war or other pursuits) on expeditions distant from home would prop their quivers against one another tipi-fashion and dance around them. Similarly, upon their return home this would be repeated as a Thanks-giving for their success on the hunt. It is appropriate therefore, that such a Thanksgiving song introduce an evening’s dancing. The easy chug-chug around the Longhouse unlimbers stiff joints and relaxes one for the strenuous efforts to come. As with all the dances the direction is contraclockwise. The step is an uncomplicated flat-footed shuffle. The dance begins when the lead singer and his assistant appear on the dance floor. These two are picked by a “push” or master of ceremonies chosen for the night. It is he who decides the order of dances, picks singers and dancers, and relates all this to the Speaker who announces it to the People. A moment after they have begun singing and dancing a line of male dancers suddenly develops behind them. It is the custom for the best dancers to take the lead and less skillful, more reticent to take the rear. Youngsters inclined to clumsy bunching and jostling, dance to the rear and follow this pattern in the other social dances. Soon all ages of women join, each taking a place between two men. While the dance can be performed in the simple jog there are always those excellent dancers, filled with the joy of rhythm and motion, who improvise little bursts of fancy footwork off to the side of the file of slower dancers. No musical instruments are used in Gada ‘trot, but a percussive effect obtains from the clomping in unison of the dancers’ feet. All men can join in the responses to the head singer’s lead, but usually only a few near the front participate. New songs are introduced from time-to-time, but the old ones remain tested favourites. A few songs have meaningful lyrics, but most are simple burden syllables by which the melody is carried… as in the English carol: “Deck the halls with boughs of Holly, fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la.”

Usually the first dance to start a social

“Stomp” Step dance style – slow paced

Head man singer followed by a second lead singer

Headsinger sings short syllables that requires a response from the men behind him

Men in the lead the single file row, women join in alternating between the men (man, woman, man, women,…)

Responses may be the same or they may be different

It is said that the men would sing this song as a travelling song.  On their way home from hunting, the men would sing this song when getting close to the village..