Performance by Ndere Troupe – A visual treat indeed!
Dance has always been a passion for me. However, my first encounter with dance did not go well. 🙂 When I was just three years, I was put in a dance class run by my school as an after class activity. To my surprise I still have a vague memory of that class packed with 25–30 children of different age groups, trying to copy what the instructor was doing. I got so disillusioned after the first class that I adamantly refused to go to the class any more. Then at the age of eight I had the opportunity to join a professionally run dance school (apparently my parents recognised the interest I I have in dance) and from then onwards dance has always been a part of my life. Never miss a chance to perform or watch various dance genres.
Dance has always been an important part of celebrations, ceremony and entertainment. It’s difficult to say when dance has become a part of human culture. The Egyptian tomb paintings depicting dancing figures from 3300 BCE and 9000 year old Bhimbekta rock shelters paintings in India indicate the prevalence of dance even in prehistoric times. Dance figurines were a permanent feature of ancient temple architecture.
Dances are usually performed as a mode of expression, as part of healing rituals or as an offering to God. Dance forms are also used as a tool to communicate with people about social evils, prohibiting the progress of the society. Ballet, bharatnatyam, hip hop, rumba belly dance, calypso, gigue, lap dance… there are sooo many varieties of dance we enjoy today.
The entertaining performance of traditional Ugandan dance and music by Ndere Troupe is what initiated these thoughts on various dance forms. I’d watched traditional Ugandan dances many a time. But getting to enjoy the playing of musical instruments, singing and dancing in a serene ambience in the amphitheatre at the Ndere Centre was an entirely unique experience. To quote from Ndere Troupe’s website, “In Africa written words didn’t exist, thus Africa’s cultural history, literature, knowledge and wisdom were recorded and passed on to succeeding generations through the medium of performing arts music, dance, storytelling and poetry.”
The programme started with playing of various instruments and singing.
Kiganda dance from Buganda was originally only to be performed by the people of Obutiko clan and only in the palace.
Dance of Bunyoro tribe. Bunyoro tribe belongs to the Toro region in Western Uganda. This is a courtship dance. Men and women sit around a fire reciting poems. Then men start dancing in front of each girl and the luckiest one gets chosen.
Banyankole are the people who belong to the Ankole tribe, one of the four traditional tribes of Uganda. They are from South Western Uganda. This region is also famous for the Ankole cows with their distinctive curved horns.
Dancers of Alur tribe hail from north western Uganda. One of the main instruments they play is called an Adungu.
These are the dancers of the Acholi tribe. They belong to the Luo Nilotic ethnic group from northern Uganda.
The percussion ensemble from Burundi , another east African country, was quite amazing. They came in balancing the heavy log drums on their heads drumming and singing. These drums are made from the trunks of a tree which grows only in Burundi.
Intore (the dance of heroes) is the most famous traditional dance form of Rwanda, another east African country.
It was a visual treat indeed. This post will not be complete unless I mention the tasty Ugandan meal which we all enjoyed after the performance.
Loved reading this post. A lot of research in there and reflects your passion.
do you have video clippings Minichechi? Would luv to see them….
Though I have been to Uganada, did not get an opportunity to view the Ndere troupe’s performance. Next time I’m there, will definitely make sure that I go see them.
Nice. Thank you for enlightening us. Wish these dance forms were more widely known in the world.
Having been in Uganda for almost 2 decades (less by 2yrs), I totatlly agree that the performance of the Ndere troupe at the Amphitheatre is truly a visual feast for the eyes. Best part is, at the end of the show everyone present is asked to come together and do their own jig . Its amazing to see how people from all corners of the world, be it from Spain, Turkey, U.S, Russia, U.K, Middle East, Far East etc converging in the middle in a unique rhythm … I must admit its a wonderful experience indeed!