After reading the handout about tribal dances and ceremonies, I learned a lot of interesting things I never knew before. I guess the fact that I haven’t taken a dance class ever before and wasn’t taught too much about dance in grammar school or high school, I was ignorant to how important and how influential ritual dances are within a society. Dancing is an activity that can be dated as far back as the Stone Age, when people first existed on this planet. Not only that, ritual dances can be found in almost every culture today.
In some areas of the world, dancing is a way of life. It can be used for a variety of reasons such as; Fertility rituals, Initiation rituals, Rituals of the Hunt and Animals, Healing and funeral rituals, and War and Weapon rituals. Rituals are traditional clusters of actions. They are performed for the most part to cast magical spells and to influence gods and spirits. Rituals are also passed down from generation to generation. The ritual dance that my group performed last Tuesday in class was titled War and Peace.
It started off violent with an intense fight scene and ended with everyone being brought back to life and coming together with the linkage our hands, representing peace. With everything going on in the world right now, we thought it was an appropriate ritual dance to do because the point of it was to show how we must not kill each other. We must come together, figure out our differences and make peace. This ritual would be considered a specific ritual, which has a specific one-time purpose.
The purpose obviously being the end of the terrorism that’s going on and the prevention of a war. The other type of ritual the handout talks about is a cyclical. A cyclical is repeated each year or season. An example of this would be a rain dance that a tribe might do during a dry season when their crops need water. It seemed to me that the other two ritual dances did in class were probably cyclicals. They seemed as though they were dances that could be used over and over again as opposed to our ritual that had a one-time purpose.
Another interesting fact I found out while reading was how sound plays such a crucial role in a ritual dance. It said that the drummer is the main music maker, and it is thought that the gods are spoken to, through drums. Since we practiced our ritual dances in class without a drumbeat, it was a real drastic change when Dave provided a beat for our final dance, making it much easier to keep a rhythm. Another important topic talked about in the article that had to do with our dance in class was Sexual roles.
It said that men usually have the roles in a ritual dance dealing with war and the women’s role most often deal with the caring for the bodies of the dead. This was also true for our dance we performed in class. Me and Mike started of the ritual dance with a fight symbolizing war, and the dance ended with one of the girls from our group bringing us back to life. In conclusion of this paper, I would like to say that I actually am glad we were assigned our ritual dance, I had fun. Now that I have finished this paper, I have a better understanding of what ritual dance really is.