African dance serves several purposes in
communities. Some dances serve to impart knowledge and traditions in a
community, some help define a person’s role within society and others are just
for celebratory moments.
Whichever the purpose may be, traditional dance
is tied to culture and beliefs.
Moribayassa is a joyful dance for women who
have overcome great difficulties in life. The dance is popular among the Malinke
people of West Africa. It is also practised in other African countries such as
Mali, Guinea and others.
The dance started as a way for a woman to thank
God for giving them a child after a long period of infertility and to this day
it plays an important role in the lives of African women.
The woman would pray and beg God for a child. If
her prayers are answered, she celebrates and performs the Moribayassa dance
after a period of time as a token of gratitude to God.
The Moribayasssa dance begins by a tree,
traditionally a mango tree, the woman wears old ragged clothes while acting crazy
like a maniac, carrying all sorts of weird objects on her feet, hands and head.
circles around the village accompanied by other women singing and dancing the
Moribayassa together. The point of all this craziness is to show that the woman
is extremely happy, so happy that it’s like she’s crazy.
With the beat of the drum, the woman moves
their hips from side to side while the feet pound the ground. The drum
symbolises life and a heartbeat.
When the woman reach a tree, she stops and
changes the old clothing and bury it in a special spot
Although the Moribayasa still remains to be
performed exclusively by women in some parts of Africa. In other parts of the African
continent they perform it at festivals, joyous occasions.
This unique dance has received a lot of attention from foreign audiences and tourists.