The Kabylian Dancing


Dancing is the way in which people express their happy feelings and enjoyment. It’s also the way of displaying their cultural heritage. Acheddah is the term which refers to dance in Tamazighth(kabyle language).In general, the Berber dance seems to be inspired by the equestrian majesty, whether it is the chaoui dance, the ahidus/ahwash (Morocco), the ancient kabyle dances that are feminine or masculine. Another type of imitative dance, which one might call "aviary," by its inspiration of birds, sometimes imitates the lightness and suppleness of the hawk (bu εemmayeṛ) and the partridge (thasskurth), playing with hands and feet of which one finds much in the texts of praise, for example: "a mm uqabub n tssekurth wi i km ikharhen ad yekk tabburth""Oh, beak of partridge! Who does not love you, take the door (go out)! "

    The kabyle society is evolving and so their traditional dance, over time. In the ancient times, people used to dance under the rhythm of chants,clapping and tambourines (Urar).Nowadays the dance is performed  under the rhythm of the disk jockey.

    The kabyle dance is the fact of moving the whole body on a fast pace. There are various kinds of dances; dance of the belly (acheddah awa-mass) which is executed through tying a scarf tied around the pelvis. It concentrates exclusively on the abdomen; parallel feet joined, sometimes it forms a slight step towards the middle  position of the feet, one of these two movements may be retained by the dancer, as she can alternate the two according to its arrangement and rhythm. This type is widely performed by old women (thimgharin).The second type of dance is the dance of the hips that consists of tying a scarf around the hips and placing the parallel feet, very flat and moving without detaching them from the ground, thus supporting the hips to dance faster and faster .The hands hold a scarf held either behind the head or in front of the face or held by one hand, releasing the other, or engaging in accelerated rounds and skillfully slipping the piece of fabric from one hand to the other another.

   The masculine dance is not the same as the female one; the left foot back inclined slightly advances slowly while the right foot, with a knee sagging goes forward. Men move the whole upper part of their body by rolling their shoulders and head .They shoot gunpowder on air (warlike inspiration) and then they dance to show their strength and courage.

    Sacred dance (ajdab) takes place in the Kabylian regions, on a certain day .For example, during the arrival of the pilgrims, the bendirs(tambourines) are in full swing, then some women practice the ajdab, in other words to swing the head back and forth until trance. The accelerated movements more and more are imprinted with frenzy and some falls into catalepsy. The ajdab is often solicited for therapeutic functions: in all cases, intended for the well-being of the body.It has no existence anymore nowadays.

   All these dances , each of which bears a particular name that can change according to region, illustrate the cosmic movement that each element, each being, each object, belonging to the visible or invisible world, must accomplish . They hold a great significance and symbolic interpretations in their manifestations by a particular movement. The choreography of the kabyle dance is very simple; the young dancers are arranged in a line or in a semicircle, tight against each other .For instance,the kabylian women performed a particular dance to celebrate the abundance of the crop during the harvest of the olive trees. It is accompanied by traditional music and trills (ilalwlawen). The women wear the traditional costume with foutha (piece of fabric which is placed on the hips) which corresponds to the Kabylia region.

written by ARAB Sabrina

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