By Patrick McNaughton
In 1978, Patrick McNaughton witnessed a poultry dance masquerade within the small city of Dogoduman. He was once so stricken by this functionality that its impressive creative strength hasn't ever left him. As he revisits that very detailed night in A fowl Dance close to Saturday urban, McNaughton rigorously considers the parts of the functionality, its velocity, the performers, and what the full adventure ability for understandings of Bamana and West African aesthetics and tradition. The functionality of virtuoso dancer Sidi Ballo turns into McNaughton's automobile for knowing the facility of people in African paintings and the ability of aesthetics as a cultural phenomenon. issues akin to what makes paintings potent, what makes it "good," how construction is wrapped in person virtuosity, and what person artistry indicates approximately society demonstrate how participants interact to create the indelible adventure of striking functionality. This exuberant and attractive booklet will effect perspectives of society, tradition, artwork, historical past, and their makers in West Africa for years to come.
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Additional info for A Bird Dance Near Saturday City: Sidi Ballo and the Art of West African Masquerade (African Expressive Cultures)
1 It is part of Sidi’s expertise, part of the knowledge, sensibilities, and skills he has developed over years to become a virtuoso masquerader. When he is done, the performance can proceed. The Ntomoniw Enter The per formance begins with two dancers in delicate face masks (see plate 8), popu larized versions of a type that used to reside exclusively in a very different context, the Ntomo young men’s initiation society. ” The jamaladilala, or The Performance 19 master of ceremonies, whistles them to the dance arena’s entrance.
He stops abruptly and leans the entire masquerade backward while raising it and the bird’s head straight up (see plate 12). It is like a horse rearing up in a cowboy movie, and it is galvanizing. In the next second, the enormous abstract bird rushes at me, hooks me by the neck with the bright red, very long-beaked bird’s head, and freezes there. It is only for a moment, but it seems like forever, and then he is suddenly off again, flying like crazy and spinning the entire masquerade ninety degrees around, first in one direction, then in the other, as he careens about the dance arena.
Unmasked Dancers, Drummers, and the Young Ladies’ Chorus: As if releasing pent-up energy, the unmasked dancers take the bird’s place as the drummers spill onto the dance arena and the singers circle around it. A sense of serene interlude is produced. Kònò Returns and Greets the Town: The bird is back, with high-energy routines. Then he slows down and greets the musicians, important town members, and guests. Off to the Races Again: More of the bird’s high-speed dance arena maneuvering. He is now solidly establishing many of the gestures and the intricate and challenging actions that made him such a popu lar performer.
A Bird Dance Near Saturday City: Sidi Ballo and the Art of West African Masquerade (African Expressive Cultures) by Patrick McNaughton