Dance Team Extravaganza

 Congratulations are in order for our Troop 451 Dance Team!

What a day it was! Members of our Dance Team gathered at Trietsch Memorial at 8:30 Saturday morning, February 22nd and didn’t return home until about 12 hours later. This was an eventful day that included three public dances in Little Elm, Lewisville, and Lake Dallas. All three performances included an Arrow of Light Award ceremony and the last also included a bridging ceremony for Webelos 2s advancing from their Cub Packs to their new Boy Scout Troops. Following the final performance, most of those participating repaired to Braums on 1171 for a double-scoop ice cream cone.

For the first ceremony of the day, our boys travelled to Little Elm to participate in the awarding of the Arrow of Light. The Arrow of Light is the highest award in Cub Scouting and is earned by Webelos in their second year, prior to bridging to Boy Scouts. The Ceremony was held right on the northern shore of Lake Lewisville and as befits an early morning here in late February, it was chilly, especially for our dancers, whose costumes are not intended to ward off the cold. They looked resplendent, however, bedecked in feathered finery and other appurtenances of the Native American dance tradition, including personalized face paint.  
In addition to the dancers’ own costumes, the Scouts playing the roles of Chief, Guard, and Medicine Man have unique and impressive adornments: The Chief wears a feathered war bonnet that extends all the way to the ground. The Guard’s war bonnet is a more standard size that stops at the shoulders. The Medicine Man wears a white buffalo’s head bonnet. The Guard and the Runner (who ‘selects’ the Webelos to be awarded their arrows) also carry brass tomahawks, while the Medicine man and the Chief sport their own impressive staffs.

Loading vehicles with all the dance regalia, and then unloading it and putting it on is an involved process that is equally complex when it is reversed after a ceremony has concluded. Fortunately, in the course of three performances in this one day, everyone’s gear arrived safe and reasonably sound and made it safely home again.

Our Dance Team has performed nearly a dozen public dances already this season and the experience shows. The ceremony ran smoothly and those with speaking parts were loud and confident, saying their lines with authority. Our boys opened with the Eagle dance and the white eagle costumes were impressive as always. Next up was the Snake dance. This is a ‘follow-me’ dance in which three dancers lead lines of boys from the pack in a series of dance moves. Although some of the younger Cub Scouts were unsure as to whether they wanted to join in, for this ceremony, as with all the others, our dancers enjoyed good audience participation.

The Webelos being awarded their arrows seemed appropriately impressed by the pomp and pageantry our dancers provided and by the emphasis on staying true to the ideals of Scouting. The Webelos’ achievements were celebrated with the Warrior’s Dance and the ceremony wrapped up with the Buffalo Dance, which includes two dancers playing the part of buffalos, complete with brown buffalo’s head bonnets and hunters armed with stone-tipped spears.



After the first ceremony, we returned to Trietsch where we had a room reserved, thanks to the generosity of the church. There, many members of the Team reviewed the additional lines that are part of the Bridging Ceremony while others took advantage of the time to adjust, refine, and repair their costumes. By popular vote, we headed to the nearby Dairy Queen for lunch and then back to Trietsch to get ready for the next performance at the First United Methodist Church in Lewisville.

This ceremony was much like the one in Little Elm except that, being held indoors, it was considerably warmer. In further testimony to the Team’s experience by this point in the dance season, a potentially awkward mix-up with the Webelos who were receiving their arrows was handled with such aplomb that the audience may have thought that it was part of the normal program.  After this performance concluded, we proceeded with all due attention to our next one, which was scheduled to begin rather soon after the previous one ended.

The final performance of the day took us
back across Lake Lewisville to the little community of Lake Dallas. Here, the ceremonies included both the Arrow of Light award and the Webelos bridging to their new Boy Scout Troops. Festivities were held in the multipurpose room of the local middle school and our hosts provided us with spaghetti or lasagna and salad for dinner.

Arrow of Light ceremonies are typically very similar but this one featured a break with tradition – literally. When the Webelos first received their arrows, our ‘Chief’ found the arrows (not the Webelos!) wanting and snapped each one over his knee! Needless to say, the Webelos were speechless. There they were, anxiously awaiting the tangible symbol of the award they had earned and here some big ol’ guy in a huge headdress goes and _ruins_ the arrows!

As it happened, this was a variation planned by the pack and the ‘inferior’ arrows were soon replaced by the real arrows the boys were to be awarded. Those who were not in on the joke breathed a collective sigh of relief. Owing to scheduling issues, our final performance of this long day wrapped up later than anticipated and we did not leave Lake Dallas until about 7:00 PM.

From there, we headed to Braums where treats and good times were had by all.  Many Team members didn’t make it home until after 8:30, making for a long, if enjoyable, day.




Comments

  1. Have you thought about getting native american input? This could be viewed as a bit insulting and I'm not sure there is a lot of accuracy here. Maybe have the kids learn and do something from their own cultural past.

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