Ethiopian dance, food fiesta in Delhi (With Images)

October 20th, 2011 - 2:19 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 20 (IANS) An ensemble of 10 Ethiopian dancers captured the rural spirit of the ancient African nation with an hour-long performance here of the traditional dances and music of the country.

The dancers were from the National Theatre of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa. They made the green lawns at the India International Centre here their joyous playground late Wednesday as part of the “Festival of the Arts” being held Oct 15-21.

“Ethiopian songs are divided into four categories - war songs, hunting songs, everyday songs and celebration music - which are traditionally performed during rituals. But the emergence dance and music repertory companies have led to the culture of live concertos. The National Theatre has travelled widely,” a senior official at the Ethiopian Embassy said.

The dance was accompanied by a lavish Ethiopian buffet.

The dance troupe comprised five men and two women.

The women - two young dancers - formed the backbone of the renditions with their non-stop presentations of the dances of the Amhara, Tigrean, Agaw, Adare, Kullo, and Kaficho people as well as the six different Galla tribes.

The women gyrated their hips and swayed their torsos to motions simulating the agricultural chores on the field as the men played the traditional percussion and string instruments.

Two vocalists kept up the pace of the performance with their high-energy songs and oral rhythms that were akin to contemporary beat boxing.

An element of humour saw the performers clowning around the stage to the delight of the audience - who were on their feet tapping to the music.

The dancers were clad in regular blue and white workday clothes and changed to their traditional flowing white kaftan robes later.

Formerly known as the Haile Selassie I Theatre, the National Theatre Group was founded in the late 1940s by the Ethiopian government. It began as a musical repertoire with a band that played Ethiopian songs.

Austrian composer Franz Zelwecker was the first director of the National Theatre. It is divided into two directorates - one of theatre and the other for music and dance.

The accompanying buffet complemented the spirit of the dance and music with its basic flavour that included chicken and mutton stew, dumplings, chick pea broth, lentils and assorted vegetables.

“Our culture is linked to our land and agricultural practices,” the official said.

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