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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Prince Hall Shriners Riding (Doing The Camel Walk)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post presents information about the Prince Hall Shriners' tradition of "riding" (marching while doing the dance called the "Camel Walk".)

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.

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

The formal name for the Prince Hall Shriners is "Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine". (A.E.A.O.N.M.S.) This Black fraternal organization are called "Prince Hall Shriners" to distinguish them from the earlier organization of Shriners who are 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. The reason for that fraternal organization's adoption of the "Camel Walk" is likely that the "camel" is connected with the Shriners is the Middle Eastern theme of that organization and their female auxiliary "The Daughters of Isis". As part of that Middle Eastern theme, the members of the Prince Hall Shriners are called "Nobles" & they wear tasseled fezes during their special events. 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 song "Ride The White Horse" appears to be the at least unofficial anthem of the Prince Hall Masons' riding.

Click http://www.aeaonms.org/about.htm and http://www.sinai59.org/DomainHistory.htm for information about the Shriners.

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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.)

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 the Prince Hall Shriners tradition of "riding".

Example #1: Shriners- Chicago Camel Walk 2010



palestinenoble1, Uploaded on Oct 5, 2010

Chicago-Palestine #1 A.A.O.N.M.S. First Gala Walk in 26yrs...Bringing it back home.

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Example #2: Ahmed Temple #37



Uploaded by Princess314 on Oct 10, 2010
-snip-
The audience calls in this video such as "I see you [person's name]!", "Alright now!", and "Get it now!" remind me of the responses that are heard at Black Greek lettered step shows and stroll competitions.

Also, one or more person dancing in the center of the circle is a traditional form of African American dances & other African Diaspora dances. That same formation in which a person/persons in the center of the circle format is found in Black children's circle games.

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Example #3: Persian Temple No. 46 - 2010 Potentate Ball - Intro (Camel Walk)



Uploaded by smokeyjoesii on Dec 19, 2010
-snip-
This video also points out some striking similarities between the Prince Hall Shriners and historically Black Greek lettered fraternities. Since the Prince Hall Shriners were founded in 1893 and Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc, the first historically Black Greek lettered organization which is still in existance was founded in 1906, it would be correct to say that those historically Black Greek lettered fraternities are modeled after the Prince Hall Shriners and not vice versa. One way in which these organizations resemble each other is their use of call & response chanting.

I can't make out what the leader says in the above video, but the response is "46" (the number of this particular Shriners' "chapter").Compare that to Black Greek lettered fraternities'/sororities' signature chants which include call & response chants that are based on the organization's founding date. For instance, members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. have a call & response chant in which the leader of the chanters calls "1 9" and the other chanters respond "0 6" - 1906 being the date that the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity was founded.

The Camel Walk march/dance also reminds me of the historically Black Greek lettered fraternities' strolls (party walks). I'm unsure if the Shriners' performed this strolling movement before the Black Greek letted organizations (both the fraternities and the sororities began performing strolls.

I'd love to know if it's common for Prince Hall Shriners & Daughters of Isis to pledge a BGLO fraternity or sorority, and if so, I wonder if one particular fraternity or sorority is most often pledged by those men and those women.

By the way, the women in the video who are dressed in white with white hats are members of the Prince Hall Shriners' female auxiliary.

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Example #4: Golconda Temple No. 24 Nobles camel walking into the formal dinner dance



Uploaded by bks2295 on Mar 7, 2011

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Example #5: 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)

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RELATED LINK
Click this link to a post on my pancocojams blog for videos of the camel walk dance: http://zumalayah.blogspot.com/2013/05/prince-hall-shriners-riding-doing-camel.html.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT AND THANKS
Thanks to all the Prince Hall Shriners who are featured in this post. Thanks also to those who wrote the information that I quoted in this post and thanks to the producers of these videos and to their YouTube publishers.

Thanks for visiting zumalayah.

Visitor comments are welcome.

Foot Stomping Dances Around The World

Edited by Azizi Powell

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

Click this link to a page of my Jambalayah website for a larger compilation of similar videos and for information about those dance movements: http://www.jambalayah.com/node/1150 "Foot Stomping And Body Patting Movements Worldwide

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.

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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

This post provides brief information about the Venda people of Southern Africa. This post also provides information and features selected YouTube videos of the traditional python dance which is performed by the Venda people of Southern Africa.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, cultural, and aesthetic purposes. A portion of this post was published on my pancocojams to show the similarities between the python line formation and the probate entrance marches that are common to historically Black (African American) Greek lettered sororities. Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/01/similarities-between-venda-python-dance_7.html for that post.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

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INFORMATION ABOUT THE VENDA
From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venda_people [hereafter given as Wikipedia- Venda]
"The Venda (Vhavhenda or Vhavgona) are a Southern African people living mostly near the South African-Zimbabwean border. When the bantustan of Venda received nominal independence in 1973, their population stood at 200 000.[citation needed] In 1996, there were 600 000 Venda speakers.[citation needed] The 2001 census revealed that there were 800 000 Venda speakers in South Africa, while the 2011 census indicated 3.5 million speakers of the language in South Africa..."

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INFORMATION ABOUT DOMBA (INITIATION RITUAL) AND THE PYTHON DANCE
From Wikipedia - Venda:
"The Domba is a pre-marital initiation, the last one in the life of a Venda girl or boy. The chief or sovereign will 'call' a domba and preparations are made by the families for their girls to be ready and to prepare what’s necessary to attend the ceremony (entry fees for the ruler, clothes and bangles).

Historically girls used to stay with the chief for the whole duration (3 months to 3 years) of the initiation; nowadays because of schooling, girls only spend weekends at the ruler’s kraal.

This rite of passage was attended by both girls and boys after each individual had previously attended other separated initiations dedicated to one’s gender; Vhusha and Tshikanda for girls and Murundu for boys (the circumcision done during this rite has been introduced by Vhalemba). Since the missionaries decided that mixing males and females in the same ceremony was immoral...

Various rituals are particular to the Venda and certain aspects are kept secret and not discussed with westerners, however, it is known that the python dance, conducted at the female coming of age ceremony (iconic to the Limpopo region) is usually where the chief chooses a wife...

Girls and boys dance fluidly, like a snake, to the beat of a drum, while forming a chain by holding the forearm of the person in front. Once a wife has been chosen a set of courtship and grooming rituals take place over a number of days.-snip-
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To clarify, female and males perform the python dance separately.

Additional comments about the python dance that is 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. Occassionaly, 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 current YouTube videos of historically Black Greek lettered sororities the line formation described above but without the undulating arms appears to be used rather often as the entrance procession for most Black Greek lettered sorority probates. Although I'm not certain of this, the sorority that least often appears to use this locked arms, very close contact formation for its probates is Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. The names of the other three historically Black Greek lettered sororities are given in the video section below.

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.

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
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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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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT AND THANKS
Thanks to all those featured in these videos. My thanks also to the producers of these videos and their publishers on YouTube.

Thanks for visiting zumalayah.

Zumalayah showcases videos of dances & singing games done in circles or in lines, and other movement performance arts from African American culture, from African cultures, and from other cultures of the African Diaspora.

Visitor commentsa are welcome.