Sabar dancing in Senegal

Jan
3

Sabar dancing in Senegal

Posted by sophieschouwenaar
January 16, 2007
"This short documentary was made for my master research in Dakar, Senegal. I was there during 4 months doing my research on sabardancing. This documentary serves a an introduction to my master's thesis."

Video Description:
This video of  Senegalese dancing & drumming  was produced by a Dutch woman for her master’s thesis. It shows outdoor scenes of men drumming and women performing traditional Sabar dancing . It also documents changes in Sabar dancing as men do this dance for tourists on city streets. This video also has some interior and exterior of some Senegalese houses, For instance, there is a shot of children eating communally. In addition to the dancing&drumming, the clothing styles are great!

1 comment

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Selected YouTube Viewer Comments from
loser529 (2 years ago) extremely informative. Excellent commentary and insight into this transformative culture.I loved it!
 
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swverausc214 (2 years ago) is there any spiritual connection to Sabar?

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resnicolas (2 years ago) interesting, Sabar is like a Catharsis mechanism in a "conservative" society.
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fulaniprincess (2 years ago) thank you sooo much for showing such a complex and intregal part of our senegambian culture.

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sophieschouwenaar (2 years ago) you're very welcome Fulani  Princess!
Sophie
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smallwoo4 (2 years ago) very well done. i'm working on a similar project with the griots...don't you think that's why the men refer to dancing as "travail" ?

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beanniemarie (2 years ago) Hi Sophie. I french "travail" is work. So I believe she is saying that drumming is as much work as dancing.

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fatoudp (2 years ago) Love it!! Very nice, I will send the link to my friends I've been talking about that part of my culture for a long time.

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sophieschouwenaar (2 years ago) Hello Fatou, thank you. It is  alwyas nice to hear people from Senegal (or Gambia) appreciate a research done in their homelands. 
You said you were talking about sabar for a long time... where do you
live? 
Sophie

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fatoudp (2 years ago) I've been in Florida for 4 years now. I love traveling but I miss our warm culture. Thanks again for posting your work!

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NuJavlar (2 years ago)  I had the opportunity to drum with some men from Senegal playing Sabar this week.  It was very loud and powerful. I truly enjoyed it! Thank you for sharing your video.

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kholjol (2 years ago) Sabar is beautiful and erotic, and as it was and as it is quite often something reserved for women and between women it's a place of expression about sexuality (with words and body) but of course it's not only that!
And now men enters this place which changes what happens in the sabar, that's what Sophie shows in her movie.

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rarahope (2 years ago) I agree with the others.I've never heard Africans refer to sabar as explicitly sexual. But Westerners may percieve it that way. Sexuality is just a natural part of overall ecstatic vital expression in dance. To separate the "sexy " element, uses an uneccesary label, puts it in a box, and I do not think thats accurate. Not sexy like "Beyonce" or something like that, for commercial, or for showing everyone that you are sexually attractive, but more just celebration in general.

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paapakobe (2 years ago) Since the european 'explorers,' African artistic expression especially through dance is described from european context. Look at the 'modern' world now and see how sensuality, sexuality & flirtation have become intermixed. Africans can get sexy,touch each other and just be having fun with no serious intent. Doesn't mean the song is for sex. I don't usually trust "anthrpology/ETHNOmusicology" but good job Sophie!

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kwassagirl (11 months ago) I agree. I am a citizen of the world who was born in Australia in 1944 and I especially love to dance Kwassa / Soukous whenever I can, either here or in Africa when I visit. From my perspective, when dancing, although the dance 'looks very sexy' to some eyes, there is no sexual intent at all, but rather a passion and joy which is awakened in one's whole body - an expression of self in it's very rawest sense. Thanks for posting.

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kholjol (2 years ago) Every one here has its opinion and is right. Because if sabar is sexy, it doesn't mean sabar is just a sexy dance, and is not sexy as sex is nowadays shown in occidental medias (who don't reflect neither real sexuality). I have a lot of senegalese friends (male and female) who say sabar is sexy and a dance of seduction. Some others don't. Some think it and don't say it. Senegalese drummers I know say sabar has an expression of sexuality and of some tabous around this question.
 
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kholjol (2 years ago) Of course it's also an occidental representation that Sophie expresses.
I know a lot of African dancers (from Mali, Ivory Coast, Burkina...) who are totally fascinated by this aspect of sabar and love to watch it, because it has this strengh and this expression of seduction.

It's interesting to have this debate on the web throughout the world and share our experiences.

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wadoma (2 years ago) Of course Sabar dance has sexual overtones. That's what the young generation has done with it. Previous generations didn't necessarily take it to that level. However, any form of dance is a PHYSICAL expression, and therefore sexual on some level. Hence, dance is outlawed in conservative Islam (not to mention Baptist Church).
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wadoma (2 years ago) Sabar existed in Senegal before Islam did. The provocative element of Sabar is what has made it more popular in other parts of West Africa as well, among younger generations; Guinea, Mali, Cote d'Ivoire all have their own versions of Sabar. To speak of the sexual quality of this dance doesn't diminish one's regard or respect for the form.
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Stephiebar83 (1 year ago) For your records, this dance is old in The Gambia as it is in Senegal! There is that REGION called SENEGAMBIA.

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sophieschouwenaar (7 months ago) I didn't do my research in Gambia but in Dakar so I only speak of my research area. Please realize that a lot could not be said in 10 minutes. It's just a brief overview of what my thesis is about.

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adero20 (1 year ago) I loved your approche of this topic. I have lived in Senegal for the past 8 years and I have always loved the dances there. I think you did a great job. And you dance great!!!

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143yor (4 months ago) Very good job with this documentary!! Peeked my interest from the very beginning...Great transition from the topic of the style of women to the style of men and more! My first time learning of Sabar. :)

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kyraocity (4 months ago) Excellent ethnography!! Impressive reading on the culture for YouTube. Great work! I am an ethnomusicologist working on micro-scene of African diaspora in Harlem, NYC

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