The Straight Dance, sometimes referred to as Southern Traditional, is the very formal and original dance of most of the Oklahoma tribes, including the Ponca, Osage, Kiowa, Comanche, Kaw, and many others. It is a dignified style, with a steady flowing pace that is not interrupted with fancy moves or extra footwork. Because of its slow place, some people believe that it is an old man's dance, but there are many fine Straight Dancers, ranging in age from ten to eighty! The well-made outfit of a Straight Dancer is a true work of art. Many tribes, especially the Osage, value very fine materials used in the construction of the regalia. Many Straight Dancers wear articles of regalia unique to his style and cannot be seen anywhere else.
Beginning from the top, most Straight Dancers wear a roach headdress, about 20 inches in length with a single immature Golden eagle tail feather in the center. The spreader is often German silver, beaded or leather, and a single lock of hair with a plain or beaded roach pin holds the roach in place. Often a few feathers will be attached to the roach pin. Many Straight dancers also will wear a headband made from a rolled up white handkerchief that is knotted on the forehead. Most also will have scalp feathers as well.
Dancers will wear a ribbon shirt of some kind, although some go without a shirt in the Southern heat. Bandoliers made of everything from hair pipe, beads, and rifle cartridges, are worn from each shoulder, crossing the chest. It has also become common for almost all to wear a large neckerchief around their neck, secured by a German silver slide. A Beaded belt ties off everything nicely.
The primary article of any Straight Dancer is a drop which can be made from an otter hide decorated with beadwork and ribbon work or several silver or brass conchos strung together the length or the body. Drops are attached at the neck and should just scrape the ground when dancing. In the South, there are two main variations in dress. In the Ponca and Osage style, dark blue woolen aprons and leggings with beautiful and intricate ribbon work is worn to cover the lower half of the body. This style relies heavily on ribbon and fine cloth to create its "look." The other main style, the Kiowa and Comanche Style, tab leggings are worn, and there is a greater reliance on German silverwork. Both styles have finger woven garters and belts tied around the waist and just below the knees. Either bells or deer toe clackers are worn just below the knee to produce a good sound. The outfit is finished with a beaded pair of moccasins.
A Straight dancer will always have some type of fan on him, a loose fan, a flat fan or a wing fan. He will also have a dance staff that is shorter and thinner than found in most other styles, and the staff may have small eagle feathers hanging from it.