2009.04.19: April 19, 2009: Headlines: COS - Madagascar: Safety: Blogs - Madagascar: Dancing: Personal Web Site: Peace Corps Volunteer ma vie malagache writes: dancing kilalaky in Madagascar

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Madagascar: Peace Corps Madagascar : Peace Corps Madagascar: Newest Stories: 2009.04.19: April 19, 2009: Headlines: COS - Madagascar: Safety: Blogs - Madagascar: Dancing: Personal Web Site: Peace Corps Volunteer ma vie malagache writes: dancing kilalaky in Madagascar

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Peace Corps Volunteer ma vie malagache writes: dancing kilalaky in Madagascar

Peace Corps Volunteer ma vie malagache writes: dancing kilalaky in Madagascar

There are so many ways to study dance and all it says about people. The main dance in my region is called kilalaky. I donít remember if Iíve described this to you or not, but in case I havenít, Iíll give you a quick summary. They say that kilalaky was created because of the cow thieves. There used to be tons on this part of the island, and they say that the dance imitates the way the cow thieves had to walk in order to cover up their tracks. Iím not sure if this would work or not (drag marks or footprintsódonít they both equal cow thieves?), but I like the idea of it. Oh and sometimes women will randomly shake their booties. They tie clothes around to emphasize this. And little girls learn this before they can walk, no joke. I enjoy this dance. The people are creative, even if you are usually following other people. Itís nice, because you work and think creatively blah blah blah when youíre the leader. But otherwise, you just pay attention and focus on having fun. You donít need to think about whether or not your move right there is coolóyou just copy the others and keep smiling. Itís also nice because EVERY kilalaky song is essentially the SAME and very very long. Which means you donít have to suddenly adjust to awkward beats. You know what I mean. But what I love best about the kilalaky is watching it. Iím telling you, itís a character study. You can figure things out about people based on how they dance kilalaky. Iíll give you an example.

Peace Corps Volunteer ma vie malagache writes: dancing kilalaky in Madagascar

dancing

Caption: Wedding, Antananarivo - Doing that lovely heel-toe circle dance. by caribbeanfreephoto Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic

Malagasy dance clubs amuse me. I mean, donít get me wrongóI get irritated at the drunk man (or womanóequally obnoxious) who keeps grabbing me. But there is so much to be amused about. There are so many ways to study dance and all it says about people.

The main dance in my region is called kilalaky. I donít remember if Iíve described this to you or not, but in case I havenít, Iíll give you a quick summary.

They say that kilalaky was created because of the cow thieves. There used to be tons on this part of the island, and they say that the dance imitates the way the cow thieves had to walk in order to cover up their tracks. Iím not sure if this would work or not (drag marks or footprintsódonít they both equal cow thieves?), but I like the idea of it.

So the basics. Think follow the leader, but to a beat. Seriously. One person goes first, and they choose the basic moves, and everyone follows them. And you do this in a circle. Or if there are two different leaders, their two lines kind of twist around each other. You always want to get in near the beginning of the line, because by the time you round to the end of the line, people canít really see the leader and donít really care if theyíre doing it right and just kind of shuffle in the circle. Because thatís basically what you do. Shuffle. Yes, you move your hands in different ways (though thereís one main way) and yes you can do the legs differently and all thatóbut essentially itís this shuffle around in a circle. You know thisóthat the rest is just icingóbecause it deteriorates to that once everyone is drunk or tired or both.

Oh and sometimes women will randomly shake their booties. They tie clothes around to emphasize this. And little girls learn this before they can walk, no joke.

I enjoy this dance. The people are creative, even if you are usually following other people. Itís nice, because you work and think creatively blah blah blah when youíre the leader. But otherwise, you just pay attention and focus on having fun. You donít need to think about whether or not your move right there is coolóyou just copy the others and keep smiling. Itís also nice because EVERY kilalaky song is essentially the SAME and very very long. Which means you donít have to suddenly adjust to awkward beats. You know what I mean.

But what I love best about the kilalaky is watching it. Iím telling you, itís a character study. You can figure things out about people based on how they dance kilalaky. Iíll give you an example.

We were at this club once. I mean, it was pretty awfulóhardly any women there, except for what I think were prostitutes, who then left because they were getting in fights (weird). It was mostly this boys being ridiculous and thinking theyíre cool. You know. Typical. At one point, these two guys thought they were so cool. Each put their foot on the otherís shoulder (picture it) and they kind of hopped in a circle, with all their friends rooting, as if they just invented the moon walk. It was incredible.

So then kilalaky started. For the longest time, this one guy played leader. He was muscular, and wore an itty bitty shirt to emphasize this fact. He danced well, but his moves were rather jerky and it was clear that he KNEW he danced wellóand probably practiced a lot and generally thought too much about itóand was constantly paying attention to whether or not others were watching. Whatever. This guy started amusing me, however, once he let this girl take over leader. Now, since so many of the moves are centered around your core, as you follow the person in front of you, you are often staring at their butt. I mean, how else will you notice if they change the footwork or the hands, right? Well, this tight t-shirter was clearly thrilled that he got toówas SUPPOSED toóstare at this girls butt for a good 8 minutes (long songs, remember?). He had the BIGGEST grin on his face and never lost eye contact with those back pockets.

The girl, on the other hand, thought she was really being respected as a leader, and would sometimes turn to check and see if he was following her lead. Worry of mutiny, I guess. You donít want to turn to realize youíre flying solo.

In a kilalaky line you will always find those two things. One person who thinks he is an all-star (justified or notóitís the fact that he thinks he should be on MTV that counts). One person has to check and make sure others arenít getting rebellious.

You will also always find (and this one is my favorite) one guy who quite frankly doesnít CARE who the leader is. Heís in line, yes, sure sure. But he is jiving and going crazy and doing who knows what. Arms are flying everywhere. Legs are kicking out. His face is lit up as he jams. Dancing to his own tune. This is the fun guy. This is how everyone should dance.

And as I mentioned, near the end you will always find the shufflers. They shuffle their feet forward and move with the line, but they make no effort to elaborate. It may be because they canít see what the leader wants them to do. It may be because they think theyíre too cool to do anything crazy. It may be because theyíre too busy flirting with the person before or after them. And it may be because they are simply bored, but are doing kilalaky because thatís just what you DO. The latter usually refers to the guy with both hands in his pockets. Awesome.

Of course, youíll also have the random drunk planets. Iím referring to the people who arenít part of lines or anythingóthey just stand in one place and bob a little, in their own drunken haze. Sometimes theyíll balance a beer bottle on their head (never letting go, so I donít really count it). Sometimes theyíll throw a little ships across the ocean action into the mix, reaching out and trying to grab others as they pass by. These people will be either extremely amusing or extremely forgettable.

present time:
At the end of that last paragraph I got tired and went to bed, not really finishing any thoughts. But I will say this. I not only have my students dance videos (did I ever tell you about that? About me and my students making educational music videos, using traditional song and dance to teach the community about things like malaria, clean water, AIDS, etc?), I also have the some big hits from Madagascar. We're talking talking a devil and Jesus fighting in a dance video. We're talking midgets. It's out of control and amazing and how I'll remember the music that was in Madagascar. So if you're around and my computer hasn't died by then, I'll show you....



Links to Related Topics (Tags):

Headlines: April, 2009; Peace Corps Madagascar; Directory of Madagascar RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Madagascar RPCVs; Safety and Security of Volunteers; Blogs - Madagascar; Dance





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Story Source: Personal Web Site

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Madagascar; Safety; Blogs - Madagascar; Dancing

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