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Traditional Dances; Zaouli from the Ivory Coast

Zaouli is a fairly recent dance of the Gouro people of the Ivory Coast, originating in the 1950's in celebration of Dun Lou Zaouli; the "daughter of Zaouli"

Much emphasis is placed on the beauty of the mask of the smiling young woman, and the audience admires the artistry of the mask before the dance begins. Here are a couple of examples;


Although the dancer represents the beautiful daughter of Zaouli, the dancer is always male, for unknown reasons. The dance is performed at festivals, funerals and other gatherings and is a dance of celebration and welcoming. The subtle and rapid foot movements contrast with the relatively stable upper body.

Zaouli has been widely, and openly filmed, and does not seem to be a sacred, secret dance, otherwise I wouldn't be showcasing it here.

The first example is filmed by dance instructor Konan Kouakou David

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