Sunday, 3 February 2013

Festival Dancing

I really enjoyed this dancing at the Bong Ngo Festival in Jirapa. Different groups from within and outside this district came to demonstrate their skills. These dancers, apparently, travelled from Lawra to dance here. They looked very professional. However, many young people look as athletic as this, not through dancing but because of the physical nature of their work. What appears to be the result of hours in a gym, is in fact just living a healthy and physically challenging life.  Almost everyone farms land. They grow plenty of staples such as maize, ground nuts, yams etc to sustain them as long as possible over the coming year.
Dancing is accompanied by xylophones and drums and sometimes includes different types of bells, trumpet playing and whistles. As you might expect it is very rhythmical and repetitive. The dancers in this picture are wearing cowrie shells as part of their costume. These are still used for bartering and specifically as currency in dowries. They are a valuable commodity in these parts, but can be bought more cheaply on the coast where they are still gathered by fishermen.
I love this photo for the enthusiasm of the dancers. The troupe includes some young girls and you can be sure this dance will continue to be performed through generations. Many dances are identifiable as part of local culture and tradition. Their costume is very simple but attractive and the energy they conveyed caught the attention of all the spectators in this large arena. It was a special and memorable day for me.

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