Recently in Dance Category
In August 2008 a Seacology group traveled to Fiji to open two new projects. In Ketei Village, located on the Fijian island of Vanua Levu Seacology funded the construction of a community center in exchange for the creation of a 900-acre forest reserve. Our visit to Ketei began with a traditional kava ceremony. Kava is the ground up root of a pepper plant which acts as a calming agent. It has been the center of Fijian traditional life for hundreds of years. (Right, water is being poured into a kava bowl to begin the kava ceremony.)
As with most non-American countries, Egypt's most-watched sport is football--soccer to us Americans. This month Egypt's soccer team, the Pharaohs, won its record sixth Africa Cup of Nations and its second consecutive title. A crowd of 35,500 and no doubt countless fans all over the continent tuned in to watch the dominant Pharaohs edge the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon 1-0. Steve Vickers of BBC Sport notes that coach Hassan Shehata is only the second coach to win successive cups.
At left are Egypt's Mohammed Said and Cameroon's Gilles Binya.
Middle Eastern dance, more commonly referred to as belly dancing, incorporates movements of the hips, torso, and arms to communicate the dancer's emotions and reactions to the music.
Balinese dance captures one's attention immediately as the dancers move to tell ancient stories through physicality and props. The picture below shows a young Balinese dancer in her costume with a flower-covered headdress and expressive fan. This photograph hangs in the Seacology office, taken in 2002 during an expedition to visit a Seacology-funded wastewater garden at Tirtagangga Water Palace. Every time I walk past the picture, I am captivated by the young girl's seriousness, her eyes so intent, her motion captured like that in so many Indian sculptures.
Balinese dance, music, and ceremonies are offerings to Hindu deities and tell the ancient epic stories of the Hindu religion. As a former hula dancer, I enjoy art forms that pass along stories, be they through oral history, art, music, or dance. The combination of message and movement is fascinating to me and so important to passing along traditions to future generations.