Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Garifuna Celebrate in Dangriga, Belize

Two things happen when Christmas rolls around in the Garifuna community. One is called Wanaragua, which is locally known as John Kunnu and the other is Charikanari which has the favorite dancer, the Two Foot Cow. Here are some videos of these dance celebrations that took place in Dangriga, Belize (the south) this past weekend.

"Two Foot Cow" from Belize Vacation on Vimeo.

Charikanari is performed in the Garifuna communities during Christmas, up to the 6th of January (or the weekend closest). It is believed to be a spin off from another festival, Wanaragua. It is a mimed dance where a "hunter man" is looking for the "Two Foot Cow". It is like a play unfolding in the form of dance with the dancers doing antics and the Two Foot Cow is teased and in turn taunts the spectators. It can be funny to see how the cow dances and shakes his bottom while kids try to smack him and run. :)

John Kunnu

Wanaragua - John Kunnu 2 from Belize Vacation on Vimeo.

Inside the ring of onlookers is a loose circle of dancers awaiting their individual turns to perform, beginning with the youngest. With forearms extended, the incessant hypnotic movement of the dancer's feet match the rhythm and pattern of the two drummers. But it is the dancer's movement that dictates the drummers' beat and not the other way around. Paying keen attention, the drummers know when to pause, when to change the rhythm, and how to keep the flow. Each dancer brings his own unique style and flavor so the dancing is not repetitious. Audience participation and approval is sought with displays of grace, trademark moves and the occasional comical gestures.

Wanaragua - John Kunnu 3 from Belize Vacation on Vimeo.

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