Saturday, March 24, 2012

Drum & Dance.

In addition to lots of rest and relaxation, Rumbek has afforded me some fun new experiences. My favorite so far has to be dancing with the Jurbel tribe.

My first Saturday here I went to Freedom square with some friends to watch the drum circles and the traditional dances. On this particular day, there happened to be a dozen or so Jurbel women dancing from the Wullu region.

Their dances were different than the Dinka’s jumping and the Bongo’s swaying. It was choreographed. Lined up in a circle, they all faced the same direction and chanted. As they sang, they stomped out a steady rhythm with their feet. Arms cupped to the sky they rocked back and forth.

I asked to join them (which may have been irregular, I’m not sure). But once they realized I was serious, they laughed and started teaching me the moves.

To dance properly, however, I needed props. So they adorned me with a band of cloth tied in the crux of my left arm, and a plastic traditional bracelet for the other.

The cloth band played an important role in the dance --as I was soon to discover. It was used to swat at the other dancers in a mock battle. One would attack with the cloth and the other would evade it, then go stomping on in unison.

This was the dance.
There is no way my dancing could be described as good, but I must admit I enjoyed it tremendously. I could not stop laughing at how fun it was to “fight” these women. They laughed with me --obviously amused at my lack of skills.

But after a few minutes of this, I realized I was disrupting their show and I said goodbye. In parting, they laughed and slapped hands with me. And I handed back their bands and bracelets.

One woman, came up to me as I was about to leave and thanked me for dancing. Then in appreciation, she offered me a ring.

Fortunately, my friends did not know how to work the video on my camera; so my dancing was never recorded.
    -- Euff! So glad I dodged that bullet.

But they did take a few pictures.


It’s times like this that make me never want to leave.

I love Sudan.

Hope this video works: