“I just love to dance.” — Charley Harjo
Citizen finds fiddle dancing therapeutic
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma — The first time Charley Harjo saw a fiddle dance was when he was 13-years-old.
Now at 75, Harjo cannot keep from dancing.
He said his mother would dance until three in the morning.
“For her it was a lot of fun, that was what she enjoyed, but I didn’t get into that until three or four years ago when they started it up at the Creek Council House,” Harjo said.
He started out as a participant and eventually became a teacher.
“I just love to dance,” Harjo said.
He danced all throughout high school.
Fiddle dancing is what keeps Harjo active.
“I just enjoy dancing no matter what kind of dance it is,” he said.
He said dancing has been a big part of his life and is like physical therapy for him.
“I used to have aching knees and I don’t have it anymore, I feel good,” he said.
Harjo would like to see each community in the MCN jurisdiction hold their own fiddle dance groups.
His group is willing to go to each community to teach them fiddle dancing.
Harjo’s group is scheduled to perform at this year’s Tulsa State Fair at 11 a.m., Sept. 29.
The group will be practicing Aug. 10 from 5:30 – 8 p.m. at the MCN Country Club in Okmulgee.
Harjo said anyone is welcome to join the dance group as long as they are committed because they will be representing the tribe.
“We are going to practice because we are going to be dancing not just for local people, we are going to be for the whole Creek Nation. We are going to be dancing for Tulsa, Oklahoma, the United States,” he said. “There is going to be foreign people watching us. We are going to be dancing for the world.”
Craig Womack, a fiddle player will be performing live with the group that morning.
“We all come together and do this because we like dancing,” Harjo said.
He said the men will wear ribbon shirts and the women will wear ribbon dresses.