Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Wedding Dance

Aside from love of the language of words, music and dance are part of my life.  I have done international (Balkan) dancing for over thirty years in many parts of the world.  Even my choreography of the Greek dance hasapikos was taught in New York or so I was told.  This multi-ethnic education has taught me to appreciate the spirit of the music-dance combination no matter how “alien” it may be.

Worldwide, people dance at weddings, whether it is the bride and groom, the guests to honor them or both. Of course, the point of the dance is express the joy of the moment, however the specific culture expresses that feeling

An example of the more prim and proper west is the traditional waltz or slow dance. The bride and groom, often joined by the parents, waltz or slow their way around the stage, sharing their feeling of love (or relief that the hard part of the wedding is over).  While such dances can be quite elegant if the couple knows how to dance, they do lack a certain passion as the inner juices are restrained by the nature of the music.

Balkan music is by nature freed and less limited by 3/4 or 4/4 rhythms.  Bulgarian dances are based on anything from 5 to 21 over 16, with a slow step being 3 and fast step being 2.  So, a quick-quick-slow-quick-quick pace translates into 11/16. This punctuated rhythm adds a tension and passion to all dances, including wedding dances.  Here is a nice example:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-BvV4y2FoA

The whole scale of eastern (Arabic) music is different from Western music as are the instruments.  The expression of sensuality also has different rules.  Still, a wedding is a wedding, a happy occasion.  The actual tune and steps may differently slightly by country, but guests will immediately know that they have entered another world of dance.  Here is an example of a nice Pakistani wedding dance:  http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1lrtrx_pakistani-wedding-dance_music

The traditional Jewish wedding dance is a basic hora – a line or circle of people stepping in and out as they advance - to the song “mazal tov ve simon tov”.  You can hear the music here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urVxQdgP6lo.  Unlike most dances worldwide, the men and women traditionally dance separately, often with a visual divider between them.  Because orthodox students are used to this segregated life, they have no problem dancing their hearts out without the opposite sex.  They are also a bit camera shy, which is why it is hard to find a good video.  I suggest going to an orthodox wedding to really see this happy dancing.

Finally, in this sampler kit, I propose a uniquely New Zealander way of celebrating a marriage. I originally thought that the bride was scared but it turns out she was merely emotionally overwhelmed.  I am not sure if I would like completely appreciate such an effort on the part of my friends, but I am not a Kiwi, clearly.  Enjoy: http://edition.cnn.com/2016/01/22/asia/wedding-haka-goes-viral/index.html?iid=ob_article_footer_expansion&iref=obnetwork

So, a wedding is universally a happy time, at least for the bride and groom.  As such it should be celebrated.  Music and dance are the perfect language.

No comments:

Post a Comment