I don't remember how much I paid for the Mask Dance, perhaps no more than XOF10,000 (about USD20.00), but I do remember paying it to one of the chiefs in the village.


After browsing a local market of Tireli and sipping very weak millet-beer, I was told by Bebe to go up to a little open-space on the hill for the Mask Dance.
There was already a group of 6 to 7 tourists there and they were waiting for the dance to kick off. I sat a little further from them, thrillingly waiting for it to start. Then some roars suddenly echoed through the open-space. One by one, men dashed up the hill and entered the open-space with Dogon's unique traditional masks on. The Mask Dance began now.


Each mask is supposed to represent a deity or an animal of this region. Some masks looked quite alien to me. Yet every one of them looked very fascinating. A few men were even on stilts as shown in the third photo below. Just amazing!




So-called "traditional dance shows" in many developing countries are normally performed exclusively for tourists and they can be quite disappointing. But not this one in Dogon.
The dance was intense as composers and directors of this dance as well as some chiefs of the village (?) were seriously observing each dancer. They even shouted at some dancers occasionally in order to make them intensify this whole show.





For some reason local women were not seen at all either in the open-space or amongst these dancers. I don't know why. However, they were seen watching this show from a distance with their kids as if they weren't allowed to come in.




The whole mask dance took about forty minutes and I was really overwhelmed in the end.
These Dogon people didn't perform a dance to me. They drew out the strength of their culture surviving and thriving in this very remote part of West Africa.



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