Bishari Bedouin Series – Part 10 of a 10 part video-clip Interview – May 2016
This was the moment that I had been waiting to see, ﬁnally the connecting puzzle-piece. For years I was unsure if these diﬀerent dance styles were all from the same population, or of diﬀerent populations. Earlier they had shown me several dances; group dances, duet dances, solo dances, with usually the sword being held by a man. But they had not named or shown me the sword balancing, with the head held back and chest lifted.
Time was mentioned, then a cup of coﬀee was served; this signals the end of the meeting. I had not videotaped the casual conversation, I had very little battery charge left. They asked if I had any ﬁnal questions. I said I had seen the sword balancing in YouTube, did they know of this? Does their group do this, or was it a diﬀerent group? They smiled, the musician started playing the tambour, and one man took the sword and balanced it on his forehead, dancing with his upper torso and arms while sitting. I quickly turned on the video and hoped I had enough charge.
Luckily I had just enough charge to catch this last clip.
- 0:00 Before turning on the video camera the day was winding up, I asked one last question
about the sword balancing dance that I had seen on YouTube. One man picked up the
sword and balanced it on his forehead and started dancing while still sitting.
The musician started playing the tambour.
- 0:07 The group encouraged the dancer to dance and stand up.
- 0:34 He gives the sword to Ahmed, the group encourages Ahmed to stand up.
- 0:45 Ahmed stands and starts with the regular Bishari movement, then puts the pommel end
of the sword in his mouth and balances the guard on his forehead.
- 0:49 He follows the pulse of the music, with the group clapping on #1 and #3.
- 1:02 He raises and shakes the sword.
- 1:05 He balances the sword on his forehead, the blade ﬂat.
- 1:18 Tambour (the only professional artist of the group) says; (Translated)
“These are college youth from Halaeb, if she can come there, she will see better
dancers” “Specially ‘Wosyet’ – they dance it the best.”
Some were shy when he said this, others thought it was funny,
Interview location; outdoors on the sand dunes on Aswan’s west bank, with some young, University educated Men of the Beja/Bishari tribe, plus one professional musician. Interview and Video by Sahra C Kent. Translator present Wael Mohamed Ali.
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