Monday, May 1, 2017


Today is Monday, the first day of the week.  Towards the end of last week, the school hosted two wonderful nights of dancing.  The first night students and their teachers danced while the parents and family members danced behind the students the second night.  It is so beautiful watching the dances.

The above is the 9th grade doing the dances they've practiced all year for this.  Each year, students learn a new dance.  Below is the 10th grade showing their skills.  Some dances are about hunting, or fishing, or making food or even sniffing snuff.

 The way dances work is they have the main chorus with two or three verses performed as demanded by the drummers.  The drummers in this village face the dancers with their backs to the audience.  Its not like this in all villages.  In some villages, the drummers face the audience but they are behind the dancers who dance to the music.  Men tend to be in the front row, while women stand behind them.

At one point, all dances were prohibited by the church.  Many villages lost their dances while others managed to save them.  It is said when the church prohibited dancing here, a group took the dances underground and kept them alive until they could start dancing in the open. 

At one time, all the students from kindergarten to seniors would dance but a couple years ago, one of the elders mentioned that traditionally only those in 3rd grade and above danced.  At that point, the school changed it and now its 3rd and above.  That does not stop the young ones from sitting in the crowd watching and trying to follow.

If you looked at the crowd, you'd see people trying to follow along and you'd see a teacher sitting between the drummer and the dancers showing movements to remind everyone what to do.  They do it the opposite so its possible to get confused.

Dancing is an important social event in the village.  Aside from two dance festivals a year, Cultural Heritage, it is done in memory of a person dying.  A person dies, they have the funeral, a potluck to remember the person and they finish with a few hours where family and friends dance in his memory.  The family holds a pot luck and dance on the first, second, and third anniversaries of the person's death.  It is their way to grieve.

I hope to publish a couple more dances later in the week when I've got them ready to go.  I hope this video works.  Please let me know.

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