Status: Complete

refuge in song and dance on every possible occasion. War dances, before and after battle, local dances shown by the various tribes to each other on the occasion of a large assemblage, gathered together for some ceremony, animal and bird dances, in which the habits, manners, etc., of bird or animal are faithfully imitated, dream dances and many other kinds are indulged in at all times and seasons, and entered into with a zest that never wearies.
Many dances, together with the songs accompanying them, have been carried from the Nor' West to the Vasse, passing through, and being adopted by, the various tribes en route, receiving additions, or having some portion deleted during their progress, but still retaining those essentials which made dance and song of sufficient importance to be reproduced in places hundreds of miles away.
Three elements are always represented in these native entertainments - music, dancing and dramatic representation - and these elements naturally constitute a point of resemblance, remote though it be, between aboriginal dramatic art and European opera.
It has been commonly said that women take no part in native dances, except as spectators, assistant musicians, or singers, but in certain dances in almost all tribes, women take some part, generally however forming an outer ring in the dance, and taking care not to touch the men who are performing in the inner circle.
In ordinary dances, the women generally sit down in front of the performers, in either a straight line; or forming a semicircle, and supply additional music with hand-clapping, or by beating their folded skin cloaks with the open palm {or by beating their Cupped hands on their thighs, giving a hollow sound}. They also occasionally join in the song, particularly if the dance is a local one, and the perfect time that is kept and the absolute accord of music and dance amongst these primitive peoples, would delight the soul of the musician.
In a tribal dance, performed by natives on their own ground, there is not the slightest confusion, irregularity or mistake in the many and often intricate mazes of the performance. Each dancer is thoroughly familiar with his part and every portion of his body moves in unison with the musical measure.

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