Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Bottom Shaking

Dance in Tanzania is a vigorous business. At the School of St Jude, you are always assured of an audience in hysterics when a well-performed traditional Tanzanian dance is presented - there is so much bottom shaking and hip thrusting that the kids watching are screaming with delight! And the 4B students (below) certainly earned their applause at the school celebration of St Jude’s Day in October.

Class 4b students dance

Tourists who visit Tanzania can see a variety of traditional dances that vary from tribe to tribe. The Wa-Makonde vibrate their bottoms in a Sindimba frenzy. The Wa-Zaramo bounce in undulating Mdundiko processions. The unique Wa-Maasai "leaping dance" is accompanied only by the rhythmic chant of their deep voices, seen here on YouTube. Here is a Maasai women’s dance, also on YouTube.

Dance also appears in Tanzanian cultural festivals.

Binti Leo performers

In July 2006, ‘Nkhomanile’ by Binti Leo Performers was presented at the Festival of the Dhow countries. This dance is the tradtional story of the warrior queen, Nduna Nkomanile warrring with German colonial powers is brought to life by energetic music and performance. Nduna Nkomanile was such a threat to German power that when she was finally caught, she was publicly hanged. ‘Nkhomanile’ is produced by two Women’s theatre groups: Binti Leo and Bagamoyo Women Artists.

You can see children at St Jude’s learning a tradtional Tanzanian dance in the classroom on YouTube .

It is great to see this school, run by an Australian with the help of volunteers from around the world, bringing high-quality education that respects the culture of the children who will be the leaders of the next generation of Tanzanians.

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