BATUQUE- CAPE VERDE

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BATUQUE DANCE, CAPE VERDE

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Performed mainly during festive occasions such as weddings is a dance style belonging to West Africa known as Batuque. This “celebratory” dance is said to have originated from an archipelago known as Cape Verde. In addition, apart from being a style of dance it is also a musical genre. Furthermore, this dance is essentially performed in a group mostly comprising of women. This dance is also said to be performed for several hours.

a. History/origin of Batuque:

According to the cultural history of the Cape Verde, Batuque as a musical genre was first developed during the 19th century. It is for this musical genre created that a dance style was then created.  It is said that the Batuque dance style was created using several other forms of African dances as a template. Furthermore, it was under the colonial rule of the Portuguese that Batuque as a musical genre and a dance form was banned since it was considered too “African”. However, it was post-independence via composers such as Orlando Pantera, Tcheka Vadu that the musical genre was revived as a result of which the dance style too began to make its presence felt in this archipelago located in Africa.

b. Costumes used in the Batuque:

The costume worn by the performers (mainly female) include a white sleeveless short shirt that leaves the navel exposed, and knee long white trouser to boot.  In certain cases men may also perform and the costume worn by them is similar to those worn by the female.

c. Music involved in the Batuque:

In terms of music, mainly vocals are used with no involvement of any major instruments. The vocals used are essentially melodic and make use of an “andante tempo”. In addition, this musical genre called Batuque generally possesses a “call and response structure”, and is also considered to be polyrhythmic.

d. Training availability and technique involved in the Batuque:

In terms of technique, this dance mainly comprises of two basic movements. They are as follows:

1. First Movement:

In this step, the dancer basically sways his/her body along with alternate movement of the legs to the beats of the music.

2. Second movement:

In this step also known as “Da Ku Tornu”, the dancer now swings the hips via rapid flexion of the knees in accordance with the rhythm of the music.

In terms of training centres/schools, there are none available throughout the globe since this “celebratory” dance is mainly performed on a group of islands located in West Africa known as “Cape Verde”.

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