The Fancy Dance is a relatively new dance. The brilliantly colored feather bustles are said to have originated in Oklahoma in the early 1900s when promoters of large Native American ceremonials asked dancers to beautify their outfits for the spectators.
Also at that time, the dance contest for cash prizes was introduced and contestants started making their outfits more colorful as a result.
As warriors returned from World War II, many of them were impressed with the dance troupes they had seen perform in Europe, and the colorful clothing the European dancers wore.
A big transformation really began to take off in the Men’s Traditional Dances as these men began to incorporate even more bright colors into their traditional outfits, and add aerobic movements into their interpretation of traditional dances.
This evolved into a very strenuous dance competition category called the Fancy Dance, which eventually was split off from the traditional men’s dances into a category of its own.
The Fancy Dance is danced mostly by boys and young men.
The Fancy Dance is based on the standard double step of the traditional grass dances, but it takes off from there with fancy footwork, increased speed, acrobatic steps and motions, and varied body movements.
Because this is a faster, more physical dance than the men’s traditional dance, dancers must be in good physical condition. For this reason, this category is more popular with younger men and boys than more elderly men.
The Fancy Dance is a freestyle kind of dance.
Dancers do whatever they can to keep up with the music! They, too, must follow the changing beat of the drum, stop when the music does and have both feet on the ground when the music stops. However, aerobic leaps and twirling, and individual fancy footwork are incorporated into this style of dance.
The Fancy Dance competition is divided into four categories: men, teen boys, junior boys, and little boys (also called tiny tots).