Kenya. Pokot – Adango, dancing under the stars.

This is a common dance or game organized by young men, that is played during the night, or at the end of some ceremonies and feasts like Sapana, the initiation of young men.

The most frequent one is the one organized by young men, almost every night, though especially on full moon nights. Married people can go and dance as well; but as they grow older they feel less like going to jump. The dance can start after supper, and continue till past midnight, and at times up to dawn. The duration of the dance depends on the people present, and on their number. This dance is about singing to the favorite bull or oxen of each man present.


The songs have been composed by the individual in each case: they praise the color of the bull, the shape of the horns, the places where the bull grazes and drinks water. Young girls like to join the young men in the dancing, but they do not stay for long since their mothers do not like them to be too long with the boys during the night.
The dance takes place in the middle of a small circle, in which the women face east, while the men face west. The man who wants to jump goes into the middle and starts jumping, alone or with other men. The girls will join them. The singer of his bull is on the circle, he sings and claps hands. All the others clap hands rhythmically together with him.


Kidango is a good entertainment, it fosters the creativity of the young, and their relationships. In case the youths do not ask permission of the elders and, in defiance of their will, extend the dance beyond 3:00 a.m., they will be punished because of their disobedience (by not sleeping the young are not ready for their work next day). The young men will be compelled to kill an oxen to the elders for the wrong they have done. They will be blessed and the elders will eat their meat happily. Some of them will congratulate them and encourage them to repeat the same mistake, so that they can eat meat again, and the young men receive uncountable blessings.


Another play dance is called Kinchölöt which is accompanied by jumping. This dance is performed on some occasions such as during feast days like Sapana and also when children play outside the village at night During this time women, or girls come to the site chosen for the dance and sing some songs. The songs describe events carried by people: fights, thefts, adultery, misfortunes, the fame of someone, etc.


For the dance the girls stay in a small circle, and out of the circle when some of them go into the middle of it for dancing, which they do facing east. Boys or young men can also dance with the young ladies. When jumping the dancers can hold hands as well. When people are jumping in the centre of the circle, the others clap their hands following the rhythm of the song.
Kinchölöt is a kind of entertainment as well as educative. Young children hear about what happened in the past, and about the kind of behavior that makes people laugh. Therefore they will try to avoid certain deeds in order not to be scorned or derided. (H.T.)


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