My Dance Attack

I simply can’t get enough of the local dance here in Ethiopia; it’s mesmerizing and lifts my spirit, so much so that I had a dance attack the other night while dining out with KEIGWIN + COMPANY at local restaurant Yod Abissyina (thanks for the recommendation from our Public Affairs officers).  Okay, so it wasn’t just the dance that literally swept me off my feet, but the music, the food, and the people.

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What has struck me the most about the local dance scene is how many men are participating. In our work both in Hawassa and Addis Ababa, the men engaged far outnumber the women. When I started seriously studying dance in the US, it was common to be in class with 30 women and maybe only two or three men. Here in Ethiopia, it is the exact opposite. I can’t help but wonder why that difference exists here in Ethiopia and in contrast, why dance for men is so stigmatized back at home in the US? But also why are the male dancers here so damn good – and that isn’t to say the women here aren’t fierce as well. All of the dancers with whom we have had the joy of working radiate a fiery passion and strength.

The dance here seems rooted in tradition — women dancing with women, men dancing with men – capturing rituals that are rhythmic and delicious in its use of repetition, hence my description of mesmerizing. Most captivating and contagious is the sheer joy that the dancers exude; all with wide, glowing smiles that seem to invite you to join in on the fun. So you still may be asking yourself – what is a dance attack? It’s just that – fun! It’s that inspirational moment when you impulsively get up and dance your heart out, and in doing so, you let your spirit soar. Here in Ethiopia, that desire to join in has been sparked – to participate in this incredible exchange of culture, celebrate our shared loved of movement and rhythm, and dance my heart out. Thank you Addis Ababa and Ethiopia for inspiring us, these are days we will never forget and we will share these stories for a lifetime. And oh yeah thank you for the dance attack.

Here’s my dance attack –

And click here to follow the KEIGWIN + COMPANY African journey –

https://storify.com/KeigwinandCo/africa-tour-kcodumsa

(Larry Keigwin is a native New Yorker and choreographer who founded KEIGWIN + COMPANY in 2003)

 

መሳጩ የዳንስ ገጠመኜ

የኢትዮጵያውያን ዳንስ አይጠገብም፡፡ እጅግ መሳጭ እና መንፈስን የሚያነቃቃ ነው፡፡ ምስጋና ለአሜሪካን ኤምባሲ የPublic Affairs ክፍል ባልደረቦች ይሁንና፤ በእነሱ ጥቆማ፤ ባለፈው አንድ ምሽት ከ KEIGWIN + COMPANY ጋር በመሆን በዮድ አቢሲኒያ በነበረን የእራት ዝግጅት ላይ በቀረበዉ ዳንስ እጅግ ተደምሜያለሁ፡፡ዳንሱን ያጀበው ሙዚቃ፤ ምግቡ እና ባጠቃላይ ከህዝቡ ጋር የነበረን ቆይታ እጅግ አስደሳች ነበር፡፡

በተለይ ቀልቤን የገዛው፤ ብዙ ወንዶች በኢትዮጵያ የዳንስ ቡድኖች የመካተታቸው ጉዳይ ነዉ፡፡ በሀዋሳ እና አዲስ አበባ በነበረን የዳንስ ዝግጅት ከሴቶች ይልቅ የወንድ ዳንሰኞች ቁጥር ይበልጥ ነበር፡፡ እኔ በአሜሪካ የዳንስ ትምህርት ማጥናት ስጀምር፤ 30 ሴቶች በሚማሩበት በአንድ ክፍል ውስጥ ሁለት ወይም ሦስት ወንዶችን ማግኘት አዳጋች ነበር፡፡ በኢትዮጵያ የሚታየው ግን ተቃራኒው ነው፡፡ ልዩነቱ ስገርመኝ፤ በንጽጽር ደግሞ ዳንስ በአሜሪካ ወንዶችን ያገለለ መሆኑ ጥያቄ ይጭርብኛል፡፡ ሌላው ደግሞ ለምንድን ነው ኢትዮጵያውያን ወንድ ዳንሰኞች እጅግ የተዋጣላቸው የሆኑት? ይህን ስል ግን የሴቶችን ብቃት እያቃለልኩ እንዳልሆነ ይታወቅልኝ፡፡ ከኢትዮጵያውያን ዳንሰኞች ጋር አብረን ለመስራት እድሉን ባገኘንባቸው አጋጣሚዎች ሁሉ ያስተዋልነው ልዩ ችሎታ እና ብቃት እንዳላቸው ነው፡፡

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ባህል በኢትዮጵያ ዋናው የዳንስ መሰረት ይመስላል፡፡ እኔም ቀልብ ሳቢ ነው ብዬ የምገልጸው ይህንን ሴቶች ከሴቶች ጋር፤ ወንዶች ከወንዶች በመሆን የሚያሳዩት እጅግ ቀልብን የሚስብ እና ማራኪውን የዳንስ እንቅስቃሴ ነው፡፡ ከዳንሰኞቹ ፊት የሚነበበዉ ፈገግታና የደስታ ስሜት ደግሞ ተመልካቹን በስሜት ቁጭ ብድግ የሚያደርግ ነው፡፡ ይህ ተመልካቹን ለዳንስ የሚያነሳሳና መንፈስን አነቃቂ ቅጽበት ነው እንግዲህ እኔ dance attack ቀሳፊ/እጅግ መሳጭ የዳንስ እንቅስቃሴ ብዬ የምገልጸው፡፡ በኢትዮጵያ ቆይታዬ ተመልካችን ጋባዥ በሆነው የዳንስ እንቅስቃሴ፤ ትልቅ የባህል ልውውጥ እና የጋራ በሆነዉ እንቅስቃሴ ስሜቴ ይበልጥ ተቀጣጠለ፡፡ አዲስ አበባ እና ኢትዮጵያ እናመሰግናለን! መንፈሳችን በእናንተ ይበልጥ ተነቃቅቷል፡፡ እነኚህን አይረሴ ጊዜያት ስናስታውሳቸውና ለሌሎች ስናጋራቸው እንኖራለን፡፡ ስለማራኪ እና ቀልብ ሳቢ የዳንስ እንቅስቃሴያችሁ እናመሰግናለን፡፡

(ላሪ ኬግዊን ኒውዮርካዊ ኬሪዮግራፈር ሲሆን በ1996 ዓ.ም KEIGWIN + COMPANY መስርቷል፡፡)

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