Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Marrabenta

Have you ever wondered about dance as more than entertainment? When I lived in Mozambique, we dated in groups. This means that several guys and some girls would come to my house and pick me up so that we could walk together to the home where the party was. There was music and dancing as well as homemade cake and lemonade or other punch to drink.

At some point during the dance, the group made space for two or three guys to dance in a different way to a particular kind of music. I used to tease the other girls about this dance asking them why they didn't get involved with it too. But these occasions were more serious. Everyone pay close attention to those who danced and when they finished, the party atmosphere returned.

It was only when I came home on furlough that I learned the significance of these performances. They were dances of liberation, communicating freedom and much more. While I was home, I attended a conference where a documentary about Freelimo, the Mozambican independence movement, was shown. The film showed footage of the dance and described it as one for communicating with people in the southern part of the country. While I could name the young men who performed the dance,I never knew how it was used to communicate information. Each performance was a bit different and the style of the music was the same but a different song each time I saw it.

Next month I hope to meet a man from Mozambique whose father played the marrabenta music. Panaibra Canda will also perform it as part of a larger choreographed work.
You can see him at 8 pm on both March 11 and March 12 in the North Fourth Theater
(4904 Fourth Street) in Albuquerque. I will participate in a "BackTalk" session following the performance. I hope you can come.

1 comment:

The Pollinatrix said...

I love the concept of dance as a spiritual practice and ritual. I know it is for me! I try to dance a little every day.

I can't wait to hear about your trip to Albuquerque.