Zulu Traditional Dance

Topics: Dance, Zulu, South Africa, Social dance / Pages: 5 (1225 words) / Published: Mar 27th, 2011
ZULU TRADITIONAL DANCE Zulu means the people of heaven, which is a friendly and hospitable culture. They have an expressive language punctuated with distinctive click sounds. The Zulu people are proud of their nation and treasure their heritage. During the 16th and 17th centuries, they had a powerful king named Shaka Zulu. He helped expand the Zulu tribe territory and claimed that he was king of all Africa. Many cultures in Africa today still have traditions that were influenced by the Zulu people even after their downfall. One of the most noticeable rituals that most cultures in eastern and southern Africa have in common is the Zulu dance. Dancing and singing is a big part of the Zulu people lifestyle, “Each dance or movement symbolizes an event that is happening within a clan”. Dancing is one of the most important types of community rituals and it is included in most Zulu ceremonies. The Zulu dance is a sign of happiness, and it occurs at significant events like childbirth, weddings and war victories. As in most cultures, “dances serve the purposes of rite of passage or bonding, or matchmaking in a supervised environment”. Their traditional dances celebrate important community events. The dances are taught to young boys and girls at an early age. Through dance, the Zulu people tell the “journey of their clan bridging generational gaps to a unique form of story telling”. Zulu dance involves high stepping and stomping the ground in rhythm. Dancers hold weapons and shields with their hands often raised high. Some times the dancers kick over their head and fall to the ground in a “crouch” position. In Zulu dances, ankle rattles, shields, headdresses and belts are used as props and to “differentiate social class and societal roles. Traditional Zulu dance dress code is animal skin for men and skirts decorated with hardwood beads for women. The children don’t cover their thighs but adults are expected to. Both male and females “wear limited clothing which

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