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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Prince Hall Shriners Riding (Doing The Camel Walk)

Edited by Azizi Powell

Latest revision- September 3, 2019

This Zumalayah post showcases a few examples of Prince Hall Affiliated (PHA) Shriners' riding. Selected comments from one of these videos' discussion threads are also included in this post.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, cultural, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all the Prince Hall Affiliated Shriners who are featured in this post. Thanks also to those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the producers of these videos on YouTube.

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DISCLAIMER:
I have no affiliation or direct or indirect contact with any member of the A.E.A.O.N.M.S. (Shriners) or with any other Masonic or Shriner organization.

As indicated above, this information is posted for folkloric, cultural, and aesthetic purposes.

Additions and corrections to this information are very welcome.

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ZUMULAYAH EDITOR'S NOTE
As a result of watching some YouTube videos and reading their comment threads, I've recently learned that there are other predominately Black Shriner organizations besides Prince Hall Affiliated Shriners. I also recently learned that although the performance dance/strolling movement called "riding" is considered a PHA Shriner tradition, some members of those mostly Black non-PHA Shriner organizations may also perform "riding" steps/dances. According to comments that I have read in those videos' discussion threads, those performances are done differently than PHA Shriners and, unlike the PHA Shriner tradition, sometimes those performances include women.

Because my intention was and still is to document the Prince Hall Affiliated Shriners' tradition of riding, I've substantially revised those posts because they showcased videos of riding performances by non-Prince Hall affiliated organizations and published this post which has added content.

I apologize for any confusion that may have occurred as a result of previous versions of this post.

Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2012/09/videos-of-camel-walk-dance-shriners.html for a earlier pancocojams post entitled "The Camel Walk" Dance & Shriners "Riding" Camel Walk Strut". That post includes descriptions of the camel walk dance, three videos of different styles of the camel walk dance, as well as two videos of Shriners who I believe are Prince Hall Affiliated Shriners.

Also, click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2019/09/prince-hall-affiliated-shriners-riding.html for a September 3, 2019 post that contains the same content of this post and the above mentioned 2017 pancocojams post along with additional content in its comment section.

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INFORMATION ABOUT THE PRINCE HALL SHRINERS
The formal name for the Prince Hall Shriners is the "Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine". (A.E.A.O.N.M.S.) This Black fraternal organization is called "Prince Hall Shriners" ("PHA") in part to distinguish them from "mainstream" Shriners who are predominately White.

Prince Hall (1735 – 1807) was an African American noted as a tireless abolitionist, for his leadership in the free black community in Boston, and as the founder of Prince Hall Masonry (in 1775). (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Hall)

The Prince Hall Shriners were founded in 1893.

"The Camel Walk" has been at least informally adopted as a signature group march of the Prince Hall Shriners. That fraternal organization's adoption of the "Camel Walk" for their processionals is likely because the camel is connected with the Shriners' (both "mainstream and PHA). As part of their Middle Eastern theme, the members of the Prince Hall Shriners are called "Nobles" & they are known for wearing tasseled fezzes. The Prince Hall Shriners' chapters are called "temples" & the terms "oasis" is used for the city and "desert" is used for the state that a specific temple (for instance, Arabia Temple #12, Black Stone Disciples, Oasis of Portsmouth Desert Of Virginia.)

The Prince Hall Shriners’ performance of the Camel Walk dance is called "riding". A version of the 1983 song "White Horse" by Jim Stahl and John Guldberg of the Danish duo Laid Back appears to be the (at least unofficial) anthem of the Prince Hall Shriners' riding. I believe that "White Horse" is used as the go-to record for the PHA Shriners' anthem for the processional strutting/dancing performance that they call "riding" because of the word "ride" in that song's lyrics and because of the song's very danceable beat and not because of the meaning of the term "white horse" (cocaine) in that record.

Click http://www.aeaonms.org/about.htm and http://www.sinai59.org/DomainHistory.htm for information about the PHA Shriners.
Click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwATF5dnfq4 for a sound file of the 1983 record "White Horse".

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FEATURED VIDEOS
(These videos are presented in chronological order based on the date of their YouTube posting, with the oldest dated videos posted first.) Selected comments from a few of these videos' discussion threads are also included in this post.

Warning: The "Ride The White Horse" record that appears to be routinely used for the Shriners' "riding" custom contains the repeated word "b**tch". Although this blog usually doesn't feature any videos that contains profanity, I'm including these videos in the interest of documenting a few video examples the Prince Hall Shriners (PHA) tradition of "riding".

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Example #1: Noble Ride Out @ Savannah State University



hotsoup1969, Published on Nov 2, 2008

Rabia 8 Nobles of The Mystic Shrine Rides it Out At Savannah State Homecoming 2008

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Example #2: Ahmed Temple #37



Princess314, Published on Oct 10, 2010

Riding Clyde...PLEASE NOTE, if you don't like it, and don't agree, then don't watch it and take your negative comments with you.
********People didn't know how to read and/or follow directions so I removed the comment section. God Bless!************

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Example #3: Golconda Temple No. 24 Nobles camel walking into the formal dinner dance



Uploaded by bks2295 on Mar 7, 2011

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Example #4: NOBLES

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MrMyPushUps, Uploaded on Mar 18, 2011

ARABIA TEMPLE#12
BLACK STONE DISCIPLES
OASIS OF PORTSMOUTH DESERT OF VA
Party At The Shriners
Deep South Shriners-PHA (A.E.A.O.N.M.S)
-snip-
Here are selected comments from this video's discussion thread:
1. rwshelby, 2009
"I see you Nasty Nobles........Ryde Owt Nasty Nobles"

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2. NOBLEGREEN54, 2009
"Now That's how NOBLES ride!!!"

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3. mike08832, 2009
"Ride it out NOBLES!!!! LMBO"

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4. Golconda #24 Newark, NJ
Nawlinsfanforlife, 2011
"Nothing like Nobles making their presence felt!
Oro Temple #9 El Paso, Texas"

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5. Bradley Warren-EL, 2011
"Ryde Clyde!!!! Looking good nobles!!! Who Ya Wit!!!1 MOOOOOOLLLLLLAAAAAHHHHHH Memphis, TN"

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6. Edward Jones, 2011
"Get it Nobles. Greetings from the Dessert of Texas, Oasis of San Antonio"

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7. Renoaldo Spells, 2012
"Wats up bro this is Wildhog #16 your line bro Take me to Mecca!!!!!!!!"

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8. bigrider2806, 2012
"as an English Freemason with no knowledge relating to any of this i would be so grateful if someone would explain a little for me ."

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REPLY
9. T James, 2012
"@bigrider2806 Its just some thing that Prince Hall Shriners do, like part of the culture in the group"

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REPLY
10. FET Engineer
"bigrider2806 it's called "fun" and "fellowship"... enjoying themselves our way and there's nothing wrong with that. "
-snip-
I've read a few other comments that allude to the esoteric meaning of PHA Shriner riding beyond its entertainment and socializing purposes. To summarize one comment that I read on another YouTube discussion thread, PHA Shriners' riding symbolizes the three wise men (who were nobles) visiting and honoring the new born baby Jesus.

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11. Klark Kent, 2013
"Gitty clyde up!"
-snip-
PHA Shriners's "riding" appears to also be referred to as "riding Clyde". "Gitty" is a form of the phrase "Giddy up"- a command for a horse to move forward.

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12. Ronald Hargrove, 2015
"@SSGT Flavor Princehall is King, the noble are just riding. If it want for masonry it want be no franternities"
-snip-
I can't find the comment from SGT Flavor, but I presume from the response that that comment questioned the similarities between riding and fraternity strolling or stepping.

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Example #5: Nobles Camel Walk



LB9139, Published on Oct 2, 2013

Kuwat Temple #7 Oasis of Grambling Desert of Louisiana

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Thanks for visiting zumalayah.

Foot Stomping Dances Around The World

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post presents videos of footstomping dance movement from various nations around the world.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

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EDITOR'S NOTE ABOUT ADDING COMMENTS ON THIS BLOG
With considerable regret, I have disabled the comment feature on this blog (and on my other blogs except for https://pancocojams.blogspot.com, because of the large number of spam comments that I received on those blogs.

Comments for those blogs can be sent to my email address azizip17 dot com at yahoo dot com for possible inclusion in a specific post on those blogs.

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FEATURED VIDEOS
(These videos are presented in no particular order).

Example #1: Gumboot Dancers in Cape Town



simonleherUploaded on Jul 27, 2007

Filmed in Cape Town January 2007, these Gumboot Dancers were brilliant!

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Example #2: 10th Pacific Festival of Arts - Fiji 2



jkb1904Uploaded on Apr 13, 2009

Dancers from Fiji at the 10th Pacific Festival of Arts in American Samoa, 2008.

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Example #3: Mogwana Dance Troupe - Botswana



Rouvanne van den Berg, Uploaded on Feb 18, 2007

The Mogwana Dance Troupe is a group of professional artistes based in Gaborone, Botswana.

They specialise in traditional music, song and dance of indigenous ethnic groups of Botswana and the southern Africa in general.

This dance is commonly known as Phathisi, referring to the pieces of skin and rags tied to the legs which are slapped to sound like a drum. It is generally performed in happy times, such as at harvest, by herd-boys.

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Example #4:
Alpha Kappa Alpha 1st Place Winners for Chicago Sprite Step Off [United States]



Gowhere Hip Hop, Uploaded on Jan 25, 2010

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Example #5:
WSSU CHEERLEADERS GETTIN' CRUNK



ORIGINALCHEERPHI, Uploaded on Feb 22, 2008

WSSU CHEERLEADERS SHOWING U HOW IT SHOULD BE DONE AT THE ULTIMATE CHEER & DANCE EXPERIENCE TRIAD HIGH SCHOOL CHEERLEADING COMPETITION 2007
-snip-
WSSU = Winston Salem State University (North Carolina, USA)

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RELATED LINKS

Click this link to a zumalayah post: http://zumalayah.blogspot.com/2013/04/indlamu-dance-that-ladysmith-black.html

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT AND THANKS
Thanks to all those who are featured in these videos, to the producers of these videos, and to the video's publishers on YouTube.

Thanks for visiting zumalayah.

Visitor comments are welcome.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Venda Python Dance (information & videos)

Edited by Azizi Powell

Latest revision- December 18, 2020

This Zumulayah post presents videos that suggest some similarities between the Venda (South African) female initiation dance known as the python dance and the very close contact processional formation used by some historically Black Greek lettered sororities' probate groups when those groups enter the performance area for their probate* show.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, cultural, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Venda people of South Africa. Thanks to all the performers featured in these videos. Thanks also to the authors & commenters whose comments are featured in this post and thanks to the uploaders of the featured videos.

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EDITOR'S NOTE ABOUT ADDING COMMENTS ON THIS BLOG
With considerable regret, I have disabled the comment feature on this blog (and on my other blogs except for https://pancocojams.blogspot.com, because of the large number of spam comments that I received on those blogs.

Comments for those blogs can be sent to my email address azizip17 dot com at yahoo dot com for possible inclusion in a specific post on those blogs.

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ZUMULAYAH'S EDITOR'S NOTE
 This Zumulayah post is meant to point out the similarities in these historically Black Greek letter sorority vertical line formations, and not to assert that the Venda dance was the source for this type of probate processional formation. That said, I believe that it's quite possible that the South African Venda female initiation dance might have been the inspiration or one of the inspirations for this historically Black sorority vertical line formation.

Here's a definition of "probate" in the context of sororities & fraternities: A probate is a show that introduces new members of a sorority (or fraternity) to other members of their sorority (or fraternity), to other "Greeks", to family, friends, and to other onlookers. For historically Black sororities and fraternities, probate shows heavily involve the performance art of stepping. 

Traditionally, Black Greek lettered fraternities also appear to have a formation in which they stand close to the person in front of them and sing or chant. However, in the videos I've seen the men lock arms but don't rest their head on the back of the person standing in front of them, nor do they hold hands with the person in front of & behind them. Click http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdgwjN11AyY "Zoom Zoom" (Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity) for an example of this type of close fraternity vertical line formation.

My guess is that the very close line formation symbolizes the group's unity. The ability to act as one body that is demonstrated by the group's synchronized movements may symbolizes the cohesiveness that was forged as a result of the individuals' experiences of becoming members of their group. Also, the group's moving forward with their eyes closed and/or with their heads resting on their sister's back and being led by one member may represents the group's trust in each other, and especially their trust in that lead sister. Furthermore, the group moving forward in spite of their tiredness highlights the importance of the goal and the value of perseverance to reach that goal..

It's possible that the Venda python dance also has those meanings in addition to the cultural meanings which were given in the above quote about that dance.
-snip-
This same post was originally published  at 
 http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/01/similarities-between-venda-python-dance_7.html .

Visit pancocojams for other posts of the subject of Venda Domba dance and the subject of historically Black Greek letter fraternities and sororities probates. 

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INFORMATION ABOUT THE VENDA
From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venda_people [hereafter given as Wikipedia- Venda]
"The Venda (VhaVenda or Vhangona) are a Southern African Bantu people living mostly near the South African-Zimbabwean border.

Venda people share ancestry with Lobedu people and Kalanga people. They are also related to Sotho-Tswana and Shona groups."...

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From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venda
"Venda (/ˈvɛndə/) was a Bantustan in northern South Africa, which is fairly close to the South African border with Zimbabwe to the north, while to the south and east, it shared a long border with another black homeland, Gazankulu. It is now part of the Limpopo province [of the nation of South Africa]. Venda was founded as a homeland by the South African government for the Venda people, speakers of the Venda language.[4] The United Nations and international community refused to recognise Venda (or any other Bantustan) as an independent state."..
-snip-
I added the words in brackets to further explain the end of that sentence.]

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DESCRIPTION OF THE VENDA PYTHON DANCE & ITS SIMILARITY TO THE HISTORICALLY BLACK SORORITY PROBATE ENTRANCE FORMATION
I'm not sure if there is a standard name or any name for the commonly performed historically Black (African American) sorority probate (new members) entrance march which is the focus of this post. However, that very close contact vertical line formation is very similar to that which is described for the Venda people's "python dance" at Domba initiation rituals.

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INFORMATION ABOUT THE VENDA PYTHON DANCE
Here is information about the symbolism of the Venda python dance (also known as the Venda "Domba" dance:

 [Note: On December 17, 2020 I replaced the original excerpt that was included in this post for the excerpt given below.]

 From 2008 pdf by Kent D. Fowler, University of Manitoba entitled "Social Memory and the Antiquity of Python and Crocodile Symbolism in Southern Africa"

..."Pythons, on the other hand, are directly associated with leadership in Shona, Venda and Zulu cultures. In Venda court art, python and crocodile imagery are paired, with crocodile images in the centre surrounded by those of pythons (Huffman 1996:89). In the Venda “python dance”, the same structure is found. Initiates dance in an undulating line emulating a python encircling a pool represented by the central court. In this context, the python is the “snake of the water”, a metaphor for female fertility. Pythons are also paired with the mountain imagery of chiefs and referred to as “snake of the mountain”. On some hilltops, it is believed that pythons guard the entrance of caves that contain pools that are portals to the world of ancestors (Huffman 1996:91). When linked to chieftainship and hilltops, pythons are the “snake of the mountain” and invoke linked metaphors for rainmaking, young and junior men, and male virility."...
-snip-
Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2020/12/pdf-excerpt-about-symbolism-of-pythons.html for the pancocojams post entitled "PDF Excerpt About The Symbolism Of Pythons And Crocodiles In Venda (South African) Culture". Additional statements about this subject are included in the comment section of that post.

Also, click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2020/12/traditional-performance-and.html for the 2020 pancocojams post entitled "Contemporary Changes In Where and How The Venda (South African) Domba Dance (also known as the Python Dance) Is Performed".

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Additional comments about the python dance that are performed at the Domba are found below the video that is given as "Video #1" in this post.

Two of the YouTube videos of that dance (given here as Videos #1 & #2) show the female in the front of the line with one or both of her hands held out to suggest a snake's head. The faces of the females in the line are expressionless and their eyes are closed. Each woman behind the woman at the head of the line lays her head on the back of the woman in front of them. The impression I got from the dance that the woman were very tired and were slowly walking forward in their sleep. Occasionally, the right arms and then the left arms of the entire group rhythmically undulate in a synchronized manner as the group slowly proceeds across the floor.

Judging from YouTube videos of historically Black Greek lettered sororities that I have watched, the line formation described above but without the undulating arm movement, appears to be commonly used as the entrance procession for most Black Greek lettered sorority probates. 

I've not reviewed many videos of the five historically Black Greek lettered fraternities to determine if each of those organizations have a similar close contact formation for their probates or their other members. However, I came across this video of a similar formation by members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdgwjN11AyY". In this video the men stand very close together with locked arms and without moving away from their spot. The first man in line doesn't fold his hands in a triangle position, and the men after the first person in line don't lay their head on the person in front of them.

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VIDEOS OF THE VENDA PYTHON DANCE (AT VENDA DOMBAS)
Video #1: Domba



bigbluemeanie, Uploaded on Nov 9, 2006

The famous Domba initiation dance of the Venda tribe of Southern Africa
-snip-
Here are two comments from this video's viewer comment thread:
filato22, 2010
you can say that again its more zululized than venda. proudly venda
-snip-
bigbluemeanie, 2012
..."Domba was the third and final phase in Venda girls' initiation, which should have been attended after a girl had been to vhusha and tshikanda. It took place every three to five years at the head-quarters of chiefs and certain senior headman, and lasted for about one year. Its importance to the Venda was marked by the use of the bass drum (ngoma), which was also used in tshikona, the Venda national dance. There were a number of special rites and shows associated with domba…

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Video #2: UMOJA - The Spirit of Togetherness Part 2



Mrbobodigital, Uploaded on Mar 23, 2011
-snip-
The Domba dance is from 2:17 to 3:50 of this video.

The description of this dance given as a subtitle in this video is "initiation dance for young women when they reach womenhood".

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Video #3: Domba La Africa



dombalaafrica, Uploaded on Feb 26, 2010

Traditional Dance Group based in Soweto. Founded by the Late Co-founder of the Soweto Gospel Choir and Musical Director David Mulovhedzi
-snip-
The Domba dance is performed in this video from .53 to 1:01 and the video ends with a still photograph of that dance.

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Video #4: venda dance



nkosiafrika, Uploaded on May 13, 2010

great va venda mothers proudly dance @a wddng in soweto south africa

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RELATED VIDEOS
Here are links to two other traditional Venda dances:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5e-hSuDsDc0

Venda women perform Malende traditional dance

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUVkQFhdp3Y
Tshikona traditional Venda dance

Note: These links aren't meant to imply that these are the only other traditional Venda dances.

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Visitor commentsa are welcome.