Tuesday, August 2, 2016

CIES Summer Festival - Traditional Ethiopian Dance

The performance roster for the 2016 CIES Summer Festival on August 16th at the ArtBOX on 17E (1807 42 St SE) continues to grow and this year will include Ethiopian Dance. Eskesta is a traditional Ethiopian dance performed by both men and women that is known for its unique emphasis on intense shoulder movement. The dance is characterised by rolling the shoulder blades, bouncing the shoulders, and jilting the chest. Eskesta is typically performed to traditional Ethiopian music, but can often be incorporated into modern forms of music such as is played in modern Ethiopian music videos. The complex nature of eskista makes it one of the most highly technical forms of traditional dance.

The Ethiopian term “Eskesta” means “Dancing shoulders.”  It is often practiced in the Northern parts of Ethiopia (Amhara group) where the indigenous tribes of Amhara, Wollo, Gondar etc. are still performing the dance of Eskesta. The motives and characteristics of the dance are often interchanged during the dance by the performers of the variety of war songs, hunting songs, Shepherd songs, love songs and work songs. The eskesta dance transmits ideas, religious beliefs, historical events, ancient stories, emotions, thoughts, through a ritual of shoulder dancing and body movements performed on a certain musical background.

Check out some traditional Ethiopian dance below and stay tuned for more performer details coming soon!

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