Men’s Fancy Dancing: Strength, Beauty, Energy!

O’siyo. The  film “Dance Hard” follows a contestant of the Fancy Dance as he competes in various Pow wowsbin various Native communities. Fancy Dancers are very energetic and their regalia consists of large feather bustles worn on their backs, with a colorful cape and apron trimmed with fringes and beadwork. Fancy Dancers are  considered by many to be the most athletic and coordinated of  Native dancers. The producers of  ‘Dance Hard” are working with famous fancy dancer Norman Roach of the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota.

Norman Roach, champion fancy dancer. Photo- ICTMN

Norman Roach, Champion Fancy Dancer. Photo- ICTMN

Excerpt: Life of a Pow Wow Fancy Dancer By Scott Barta, ICTMN

“The first of its kind Hollywood film about American Indian life on the pow wow circuit is tentatively set to begin filming this July. The story will follow the life of a young men’s fancy dance contestant who travels and competes at pow wows held in Native communities across the Plains and Southwest.

World Champion Fancy Dancer Larry Yazzie  of the Meskwaki Nation   Photo- Ethnic pride.

World Champion Fancy Dancer Larry Yazzie of the Meskwaki Nation Photo- Ethnic pride.

The production entitled, Dance Hard, is a behind-the-scenes look at pow-wow life and will take approximately four weeks to film. The film project will be employing local tradespeople and casting and lead actors and extras from among fresh, new local talent from many states, including New Mexico, South Dakota, and Montana, as well as Canada. The writer, producer, and director of the project is Megan Clare Johnson. Joining Johnson is producer Steve Beswick of POV Pictures, also based in Los Angeles.

We are extremely pleased to be the first filmmakers to cover such an amazing and thrilling American Indian art form and bring it into the living rooms and theaters of the American people.” said Beswick. We will be employing local talent and featuring new faces on the big screen who are from the reservations in and near the states of New Mexico, South Dakota and Montana.
The fancy dance is a most vibrant and crowd-pleasing category, featuring remarkably athletic and agile dancers who not only keep perfect beat but also can stop with the drum at anytime the singers decide to stop the beat.

Travis Lovett, of Atlanta, competes in the men's fancy dance during the American Indian Festival Lawrenceville, Ga. Photo- AJC.

Travis Lovett, of Atlanta, competes in the men’s Fancy Dance during the American Indian Festival Lawrenceville, Ga. Photo- AJC.

The producers are excited to be working with an expert and primary consultant on pow wows, Norman Roach, who hails from the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota…Roach was featured in the PBS Dance in America series and also in the American Indian Dance Theater production of Finding the Circle. Roach is joined as a consultant by Robert “Tree” Cody, an enrolled member of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community from Arizona… Both he and Roach have been on the pow wow trail” since the late 1950s.” Read more…

To learn more about the Dance Hard film project, visit here:

The Movie

Video: Grand Celebration Powwow 2012: Larry Yazzie  two-time World Champion Fancy Dancer. Larry Yazzie is a member of the Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa/Meskwaki. 


“I have learned to accept the obstacles and challenges that come my way and to deal with them. Life’s not easy sometimes, but I’ve done my best to keep trying to move forward, to express my art and share it with others.” ~ Larry Yazzie,  Champion Fancy Dancer~


Category: Dancing