Dance criteria is based on the Schendi use of beads to form figures with symbolic meaning – similar to the sign language of the Red Savages.
A SCHENDI SLAVE DANCE WITH HANDS AND BEADS
“I then gave my attention to the dancer, a sweetly hipped black girl in yellow beads.
She was skillful and, I suspected, from the use of the hands and beads, had been trained in Ianda, a merchant island north of Anango. Certain figures are formed with the hands and beads which have symbolic meaning, much of which was lost upon me, as I was not familiar with the conventions involved. Some, however, I had seen before, and had been explained to me. One was that of the free woman, another of the whip, another of the yielding, collared slave. Another was that of the thieving slave girl, and another that of the girl summoned, terrified, before the master. Each of these, with the music and followed by its dance expression, was very well done. Women are beautiful and they make fantastic dancers. One of the figures done was that of a girl, a slave, who encounters one who is afflicted with plague. She, a slave, knows that if she should contract the disease she would, in all probability, be summarily slain. She dances her terror at this. This was followed by the figure of obedience, and that by the figure of joy.”
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Categories: Dance Information