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Somali traditional dance

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Somali traditional dance

The African country of Somalia has many traditional dances. Dances like dhantur (also known as Dhaanto) are performed by groups of women and men, who dance opposite one another, sometimes taking partners and sometimes dancing in their gender groups. Somalian dances are generally set to a 4/4 time signature. Most involve simple, rhythmic footwork. In Dhaanto, the dancers enter by skipping: this is a move the majority of Westerners will know. You begin on your right foot, pushing off and jumping up. Land on your right foot again, and hop onto your left foot, pushing off and jumping up. Land on your left foot, and repeat the entire sequence of moves. Dhaanto involves a lot of clapping. You'll clap on beats 1 and 3 of a four-beat bar. Alternate which hand goes on top as you clap: first, clap with your right hand on top and your left underneath, then switch. Another Dhaanto arm movement is a simple swing. As you move forward or backward, swing your arms as if you were walking fast, with your elbows slightly bent and your hand ending up about a foot and a half in front of you, at your head's height. Swing up on beat one, and back down on beat two. Begin with the right arm, and then swing the left on beats three and four.
  By: Sally Wafula - E.Y.F Secretary

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