(at the Birdsong Peace Chamber)

September 21/22, 2024
Led by Stephanie Moore

What is the Long Dance?

The Long Dance is a visioning dance held at night under the stars. The dancers move in a circular motion around the corral. It is a time to bring forth associations that lie in the subconscious mind, and by dancing them, they can be brought to conscious levels, owned, and released. It is a time to quest for your spirit, to surrender, to endure. Beautiful Painted Arrow says:  In the Long Dance of Life, every- step awakens three opportunities for the human; One: placement in eternity; Two: purification of past forms; Three: new opportunities for adventure, for in the instances of eternal time, the new always refreshes and cleanses. Arrive early Saturday afternoon and pitch your tent and help prepare the corral A Sweat Lodge follows. Then we hang our Medicine Shield Banners in the corral. Following a light supper, as night falls the dance begins and goes into early morning hours, then the dancers rest. On awakening, we have breakfast, a sharing, and return home early in home afternoon of Sunday.
The Tradition of the Long Dance
The first Long Dance was held in Pennsylvania in 1987 under the tutelage of Beautiful Painted Arrow. At the end of 1996 he retired to his land in Colorado.  We will dance at the Sun/Moon dance arbor at Birdsong Peace Chamber in Pottstown, PA.  For more info on Birdsong, go to

Some people know immediately that this dance is for them while others may need time and processing to decide. Often times, people who have an initial reaction of 'I couldn't possibly do it' eventually come to understand that it is part of their destiny to dance. As with any decision, it is most important to listen to your heart. The tuition for the dance is $150. There is scholarship money available for those drawn to dance but who have financial difficulties. To register or for more information, please cantact Stephanie at or (610) 477-2200.  About 10 days before the dance an email with final instructions will be sent.  There will be a Covid protocol which may include testing. You can register on line at the link below.

Our COVID policy for 2022 included a self-administered antigen test when each person arrived at the dance site. It is likely this will be the same in 2023. Vaccination is recommended but not required.  Of course, if you are ill or have been somone who is ill, please stay away.

For more about Stephanie,


The Medicine Shield Banner for the Long Dance
Each dancer makes a banner in preparation to the Long Dance.  They bring the banner to the dance and hang it in the dance corale. Your banner is to be 2 feet by 4 feet, with an overlap sewn across the top two foot edge.  Insert a 26 inch dowel rod thru the overlap and attach string on each end of the rod to hang the banner. Any color may be used. Put artwork on it that depicts: a) where do you come from; b) where you are now; c) where you hope to be after the dance. Let the making of the Medicine Shield be a way of forming your intention.

Becky Howell has written a wonderful little book on her dance banners : " Long Dancing through my Life" - From Amazon

Here are the original instructions for the Long Dance as Joseph wrote them in 1987: 1987-long-dance-instructions.pdf

Click here for a document with details of what to expect. (Long Dance details)



Joseph taught three main dances, the Long Dance, the Drum Dance, and the Sun/Moon dance, and these are the ones that involve personal sacrifice and I usually talk about their “visioning” qualities.  We also dance the Easter Dance, the Sand hill Crane dance, and the Corn dance in this area which are more celebratory in nature and include the whole family - kids love them.

The three dances require different levels of sacrifice both in time and money.  At Bird Song, that dances have kept the price that Joseph request from the dancers, the length of the dance increases too.  The Long Dance is a one day dance (actually one night – we start after dusk and end before dawn), and the tuition is $150.  The Drum Dance is three days, and the tuition is $350.  The Sun/Moon dance is four days and the tuition is $750.  There is no commitment to repeat the Long Dance, but the Drum Dancer is expected to dance each year for six years and the Sun/Moon Dancer is expected to Dance four years with another understanding that once you dance you never stop being a dancer.

All of these dances require a fast from food and water for the whole period of the dance.  This doesn’t mean much to the Long Dancer but to the Drum Dancer and the Sun/Moon dancer this is a serious sacrifice.

Also, the level of support varies greatly.  At the Long Dance, the dancers support themselves, they even do their own drumming.  The Drum Dancer has “professional” drummers but each person provides their own shelter.  In the Sun/Moon dance, each dancer has a non-dancing support person, and there are the drummers, dog soldiers, medicine people, kitchen staff, etc. – usually making up to twice as many people in support roles as dancing. 

While all these dances have a visioning quality, the Long Dance is very definitely about personal visioning – each dancer makes a banner depicting their personal transformation.  The Drum Dance carries the intention of healing for the whole world as well as that personal healing - this was originally called “The Drum Dance for World Peace.”   And even though the Sun/Dancer may have the biggest personal insights of any of the dances, the emphasis is on the sacrifice that the Sun/Moon dancer makes for the rest of the community – the dancers dance “so the people may live.”  The Sun/Moon dancer is the sacrifice.

Joseph taught us these dances over many years, the first being the Long Dance, then the Drum Dance, and finally the Sun/Moon Dance.  While there is no hierarchy to these dances,  no one dance is better that the others, the way Joseph taught them gives a hint to a way to decide which dance to do first.  Joseph encourages us to dance all of these dances and while most people pick a dance and do that for a time, they also rotate through all the dances.  The Long Dance is most accessible and seems like a good first dance.  All is good.