This summer, I got the insane opportunity to travel all the way over to Africa and I explored the country of Zimbabwe with my family and safari guide Craig. While in Zimbabwe I learned so much about how different their culture is from ours, and I even learned a bit about their types of dancing. In Zimbabwe, dancing is incredibly important and is a huge part of their culture and arts. Dance for them expresses their emotions and actions. Craig told us that the dances often had very deep meanings and their personal dances were so special for them, that they’d perform for their whole villages.
Dancing is very spiritual for them as a way to get closed to God. Of about the 16 million people living in Zimbabwe, way more than half of the citizens live in rural areas and spend their lives farming. Just as agriculture is so important as food and money, it is also important in their dances. Their dances often include choreography that looks similar to the moves they would do while farming. One thing I learned online was about the Zimbabwean people’s souls. They are very appreciative people and dance to express their happiness.
People of Zimbabwe are know for being very spiritual and close to God, and they have the idea of wanting the change. The change they desire though, doesn’t occur in the government, in their home situations, or even in their salaries, but within their souls. They wish to become better people and show that in their dances. Like our Christmas show, their dances tell stories. Dances that exhibit events in history are highly popular in Zimbabwe as they pass along tradition. Dances for them are cleansing and healing. They often perform dance rituals which can last up to a full 24 hours.
These rituals are performed for so long because they need time for the dancer to cross over into the spirit world, and come back from it. Perhaps the most popular dance in Zimbabwe is called the Mbira dance, and is done alongside aninstrument called the Mbira. They use this type of dance to connect and communicate with the spirit world, and it must be quite successful because its been done for thousands of years and still exists! Another type of dance is the Dinhe dance, whose goal is also to get spirits to give people the answers.
This dance obtains more of the dance moves of life. They have striking war and farming movements. While at dinner one night, I was able to see a dance and the dancers were wearing big, elaborate costumes and they were acting out a story of a big monster. It involved lots of stepping and jumping, and you could clearly see the real life movements they were trying to do. It was absolutely one of the coolest dances I’ve ever witness because it was so unlike anything I’d seen. One day I’d love to go back to Zimbabwe and see more of their traditional dances!