At 11.00am the sounds emanating from a number of kundu drums drew the crowd towards the back of the Market where this group of young dancers were performing a traditional dance.It is now common practice to have young people and children join traditional dances in official functions throughout the country. This is however not the norm in some societies in PNG. In some societies inorder to take part in a traditional dance one has to be initiated. But I think these practices will sooner or later have to be changed in the name of cultural preservation.
Schools, colleges and universities in PNG have cultural events where young people are encouraged to showcase their culture and traditional dances. More and more related events are also incorporated in the showcasing of traditional dances for instances, fashion shows showing off traditional garb or designs. Part of the strategy to preserve our culture and encourage creativity at the same time.
I am so glad that the Ela Beach Craft Market provides the ‘stage’ for cultural performances and with the diversity and colour leaving audiences craving for more, who needs a sophisticated stage with all the trimmings! I guess Ela Beach caters to the Saturday morning craft market audiences which is very informal.
Although a sophisticated stage set up has a place in artistic performances in PNG too.
I really enjoyed the dances and the children’s voices that rose above and drowned the din of nearby traffic, even if it was just for 30 minutes. What a wonderful way to end another successful Craft Market day.
Here are some of my favourite shots of the young dancers.
There is always a limit as to the angles from which to take good photos of live performances so these look quite one dimensional. I therefore tried to apply some artistic perspective to my photos and being creative to liven up the images.
The only downside with this culture performance is still seeing bits of modern clothing under traditional costumes. It is therefore incumbent on teachers of traditional dances to also include the authenticity of traditional dance costumes. That is a big part of the enjoyment, when everything presented is as authentic as possible.
I hope that in future traditional dancing and traditional clothing will be included in primary as well as secondary schools’ curricula especially where these include live performances and getting feedback from the audience.
So I look forward to the next cultural performance next month by another cultural group.
Thank you Ela Beach Craft Market organizers for providing the place to showcase our culture and our arts.