The dance is very simple- the dancers stand around the outside of the arena and shake their rattles and lift their heels with the beat of the drum. When the song then reaches a point, the dancers slowly dance away from their spot. Gourd Dances are usually held in sets, with about three or four songs a set, after which people will take a small break.
Click to enlarge The Gourd Rattle used in pow wows is not a gourd but instead a tin or silver cylinder filled with beads on a beaded handle. There are many fine rattles that are totally peyote beaded around the handle with white horsehair tufts on top of the rattle. There are two different sashes worn by gourd dancers. The first is half red and half blue, and is worn draped around the neck, reaching the ground. It is made of wool tradecloth. Many people add ribbons earned in military service on these sashes. The other type of sash is worn around the waist. It is made of velvet or something simliar and wraps down to the knees. The ends of the sash are peyote beaded and have thick chainette fringe hanging down.