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Ethiopia’s traditional rhythms are about to dance across the nation

by Mami Maruko

Staff Writer

The Ethiopian National Cultural Troupe is in Japan from Nov. 30 to hold performances, workshops, and dance nights at eight different venues across the country. Offering a variety of dance performances from different ethnic groups of the east African country, this is a great opportunity for anyone wanting to learn more about dance or Ethiopian culture.

As one of the oldest locations of human life, its roots having been traced back to 2000 B.C., Ethiopia has a 3,000-year history of dance. Traditional Ethiopian dance is said to be like a mosaic of the cultural characteristics of the 80 ethnic groups of the country, with styles differing depending on region, each having unique steps and rhythms. In the north, dancers move their necks, shoulders and chests in time to the melancholic melody of the one-string guitar, whereas in the east — a region influenced by Islamic culture — women dance gracefully in long swaying skirts to the beat of drums.

This tour, organized by the Ethiopian Embassy and other parties, wraps up on Dec. 7 with its Ethiopian Night, which features music, dance and cuisine at the Nippon Foundation Building in Tokyo’s Minato Ward.

Mocha Ethiopia Dance Group, the only Ethiopian dance group based in Japan, will also take part in the tour.

Ethiopian National Cultural Troupe Japan Tour 2013 takes place from Nov. 30 through Dec. 7 at different venues in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Tochigi, Osaka and Nagoya. For more information on ticket prices, visit www.ethiopiandance.org/tour2013 (in Japanese) or contact The Ethiopian National Cultural Troupe Japan Tour 2013 organization committee at tour2013@yahoogroups.jp or 03-6413-5956.