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Tuareg Dance

      To better forget the harshness of the environment, the songs and dances rhythm the daily life of the Tuaregs. Occasions and ritual moments brought together the Tuareg community regularly around musical and poetic assemblies where they express their happiness through dancing. During which women are adorned with their most beautiful jewels and intone Tuareg songs in their hearts, while men wear traditional costumes and armed with a sword to mimic a warrior waltz on their proud horses or camels.

     Tagouba or the dance of the sword is one of the Tuareg dances which depicts dancers wearing their shields and swords of war, making harmonious and acrobatic movements under the admiring eyes of the public, illustrating the victory over the enemy. It is a warlike dance that expresses the bravery of the blue men of Tassili. Dancers armed with swords and shields engage in a game of wars, guards, challenge and tricks. The crosses of swords succeed one another in a sketch of bulls and martial cries. The truce provoked by the women who hope to spread a message of love and peace.

     The other dance called Tahikalt or the bachelor's dance. It is a dance that symbolizes the bachelor who wants to find the soul mate. This dance plays a very important role in social relations and in the indirect dialogue between lovers without naming in the song.

    The Tindouf region(Algeria) has a specific dance known as the Reguibetes dance  that is executed by the women to express their attachment to the local traditions and rites.

    In addition to the seated dance (swinging of the head and body). This ritual takes place within the camp, in a tent or outside it, but in a restricted circle, during the day. It is organized for a woman who is suspected to be affected by the signs of depression, usually post natal (fragility after childbirth). This ritual ceremony often concerns women's problems related to sexuality and maternity. In this case, a woman will sit near the sick person, crossed legs and hit the Tindi. The women sitting around the instruments accompany them by clapping their hands and singing, while the men, standing, make a throat noise called "the takhemkhemt". The ceremony begins with a strong, syncopated melody intended to provoke trance then it is slowed down, accompanied by sad poems sung by the women. A little later the melodic theme changes again to end on sweet melodies, facilitating the return of the patient to his family. This dance is strictly feminine (dancing with her head); "Head dancing is an elegant compromise that blurs the line between dance and possession, taking acceptable images in songs and appropriate ways of moving". (Rasmussen 1994).

     During the feasts, the dancers practice Tazengherit  which refers to a song of women, clapping of hands around the Tindi accompanied by a trance dance, conducted exclusively by men who utter incomprehensible cries. The lyrics are not understandable because of the dominance of the dancers' guttural sounds.

      Nowadays, Zahuten (entertainment) is organized in Tamanrasset(region in the Algerian south) where the community meets at night around the sound of the drum or the guitar. Thus, gallant evenings were organized around Lala, the great lady of Tindi in the district of Tahaggart bringing together the young Tuareg around Tindi. The dances regularly cause trances which take place in a fog of incense smoke. These dances and music bring together young people from different backgrounds, among them the Tuareg refugees from Niger and Mali who travel a lot.

Tuareg Dance (Written by ARAB Sabrina)

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