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Press Release

Release Date: July 06, 2018

by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

  • The Chickasaw Nation has planned multiple classes, open to the public at no charge, to teach the basics of stomp dancing.

  • A line of dancers wearing turtle shell shakers rest their feet during a stomp dance event.

  • A woman enhances the rhythm of the stomp dance using turtle shell shakers on her legs.

ADA, Okla. -- The Chickasaw Nation will offer stomp dance classes open to the public at no charge through September in Ada, Ardmore, Sulphur and Tishomingo. Multiple public stomp dances are also planned, presenting students with opportunities to use what they’ve learned in a welcoming environment.

Classes are 6-8 p.m. and will cover the basics of stomp dancing.

For Ada, stomp dance classes are planned for July 12, 16, Aug. 9 and 23 at the Ada Chickasaw Nation Community Center, 700 N. Mississippi.

Ardmore’s classes are planned for July 18, 31, Aug. 15 and 28 at the Ardmore Chickasaw Nation Community Center, 907 Locust St.

Sulphur’s classes are planned for July 19, Aug. 2, 16 and 30 at the multipurpose building on the north property of the Chickasaw Cultural Center campus (a left turn before the main exit of the cultural center) 867 Cooper Memorial Drive.

Tishomingo’s classes are planned for July 24, Aug. 7, 21 and Sept. 4 at the Chickasaw National Capitol Building, 411 W 9th St.

Public stomp dances are planned 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., Aug. 25 and Sept. 28 at Kullihoma. For July 21, a stomp dance is planned from midnight to 6 a.m. at Kullihoma. Dances will include traditional song and dance, food and fellowship.

Kullihoma is located 7 miles northeast of Ada on state Highway 1. Watch for the Kullihoma exit signs.

Stomp dancing has deep roots in the Chickasaw culture, as it does with most southeastern tribes.

There are still different dances for various occasions. The Chickasaws remember their dances for their spiritual nature, yet they have become mainly social today. No matter the type of dancing, it is always an opportunity to come together as a community.

Men sing stomp dance songs in a call-and-answer format, following a male song leader, who often sets the dance rhythm using a handheld shaker made of materials like the horn of a bull or turtle shell.

Women enhance the rhythms with shakers worn on their legs. These shakers are often made of turtle shells, deer toes or milk cans.

Social dances often have animal-themed names, like the gar fish dance and the snake dance. Each social dance has a fun and unique technique.

The gar fish dance, for example, has dancers line up, alternating male-female, into a circle formation. Dancers move in one big, continuous rotation. When the song leader signals, partners rotate each other. These spins inside of a larger rotation are like the waves a gar fish would make in the water.

Registration is not required to join stomp dance classes, but it is appreciated. Contact the Chickasaw Nation Cultural Resources Department at 580-622-7140 to register or for more information about the Kullihoma stomp dances.

Last Updated: 09/16/2016