Photo 21: Dance on the nab





Photo 22: Haraté on the way to daytime dance






Photo 23: Women are coming





Photo 24: Wedding dance
























In everyday Arbore life, extraordinary dances are commonplace. something special. Often, during dances, the breaking of taboos and the reversal of rules are sanctioned.

During the nightly dance in the village square, unmarried boys and girls can exchange caresses by short touches with fingertips or by playing tag. There are lead singers and lead dancers. Hand clapping and the rattling of foot rings provide the rhythm. With the beginning of harvest-time, the unmarried dance more often, even during the day in the scrubland. During that time the girls are not kept under control. They are avid for butter and jewels to make themselves attractive for the boys. For a few days the taboo on sexual activities seems to be lifted for them.

The dances around a wedding are strongly ritualized. The married women of the groom’s clan welcome the new girl. The married women of the bride’s clan say good-bye to her. They chase the men of the groom’s clan with sticks in their hands and threaten them with violence if they do not treat „their child“ well. The two groups of women dance at different times. But they have in common that the dances are salacious. They swing their hips, make suggestive gestures and simulate coitus.  

The dances at a funeral are also highly ritualised. The people dance slowly, in a manner appropriate to the occasion as well as to the status and age of the dancers. The members of the clan of the deceased dance in circles (see video). For this purpose, all married women who currently live in the clan of their husbands return to the clan into which they were born and perform together with all clan members the 3- to 4-day mourning ceremony. 

When the drums sound at night, the ayyan comes. The ghost slips into people’s bodies and lets them speak in tongues. A lot of Arbore fall into trance through hyperventilation, heat and drugs like alcohol and coffee. The onlookers clap their hands and sing special songs. The ayyan greets the participants and asks them to dance with him. He babbles, sings and drinks. By the next morning, many of the Arbore have lost their voices.