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8 INDIAN GAMES AND DANCES
the religious dances that obtained among the eastern nations of antiquity.
When the Indian dances, he dances with freedom; his whole body becomes expressive of the actuating emotion of the scene he intends to portray. Because of his freedom, his remarkable sense of rhythm and the strong mental picture he aims to present, whether it be the flight of the eagle, the sportive pleasure of birds, the movements of animals, the alertness of the warrior in attack, or in eluding a blow, his motions are always sharply vivid and natural.
It is a pleasure to be able to offer in the following pages a number of Indian songs with their original accompaniment of action, as the two complement each other for the expression of certain native thoughts and aspirations.
Whoever takes part in the dances here presented should never attempt to imitate what is supposed to be the Indian's manner of singing or his dancing steps and postures; in either case the result would probably be an unmeaning burlesque. Each dancer should have a clear mental picture of the scene to be enacted and then give free play to bodily movements for its expression, always keeping in rhythm with the song, so as to make sound and motion a rhythmic unit.