some dances to watch- Ethiopian shoulder dances

When I was in the UK a few weeks back, I went to see Tinariwen, berber musicians from Africa, in London, on the last night of my dance tour. It was a sold out show, and hey were wonderful to see live, playing that kind of strutting, sexy, slow, desert blues. I have seen them once before, when we shared the stage at WOMAD in Seattle, and have loved them ever since.They had a slow groove that was hypnotic. And there new CD, Imadiwan, is really similar, and wonderful.


The opening act, a group called BK, put on a great show too, with a drummer, melody player on some sort of stringed lute, and a female vocalist. They had two male and two female dancers, who did several costume changes and danced in solos, duets, and all together. Let me say, I have never seen such shoulder shimmies in my life! Wow, I was shouting with accolades, which I’m sure the guy in front of me was not too thrilled with! But they were so exciting, and very high energy. They did amazing head and hair whipping, enough to make my head spin. And the most amazing shoulder isolations, and shimmies, and popping. It seemed to be some sort of mating dance, as they each strutted their stuff, in a very show-off-y kind of way, and it seemed to me to be very much a part of their dance culture, but I can’t say for sure.
I was telling my dance class about them last night and miss Veronica went home and found some footage of traditional Ethiopian dancers and music on YouTube. This is not the band I saw, but the dancing is very similar.
So I wanted to share it with you. I love to find out about other cultures and dances, to see how tradition and ritual is passed down and shared and performed. Of course, putting it on a stage does change the impact and turns it into entertainment, but that is how so many of the ancient ideas and inspirations are shared. Just like with my troupes, Gypsy Caravan Dance Company, and the Caravan Dance Collective. We are inspired by the days of past but have the need and desire to make our dance a part of today’s culture!

Enjoy these videos. What do you think?–yUHQXo

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