Yapese Traditional Dance

Traditional dance is one of the culture in Yap and it is still practiced today. The skilled old people pass it down to the young ones from generation to generation. Because each municipality compete against each other, the dancers perform their very best and you can observe that on Yap Day, which it is on March 1 and 2 in Yap.In the dances, you can see the performers about 30 to 40 of them that they are in their traditional attire. Two dancers are the ones who do most of the chanting and the others follow along in certain parts in the dance. In each dance, contained a series of dances which is why it takes about 30 to 45 minutes to be performed. There are dfferent types of local dances but I am going to talk mostly about those that I'm familiar with and they are sitting dance, standing dance, and stick or bamboo dance.

Sitting Dance

In sitting dance, the performers have to be either men and boys or women and girls. The dancers sits down and dance all the way to the end.

Standing Dance

The standing dance is for men and boys only.This is one the popular dances in Yap because it has a unique style than all the rest, for example the performers does some pelvic thrusts and slaps their hands on the side of their hips and chests to create noises.

Stick Dance

The stick or bamboo dance consists of dancers, each with a bamboo about 3 and a half feet to 4 feet long. The bamboo creates a noise that is sort of like a rhythmic beat. Among the youth, this is one of their favorite dances because the dance looks like that the people are fighting against each other and has a lot of jumps and the performers shake their bodies as if they want to break their bones.

Meaning of the Dances

All these dances have their own meaning and that is what makes each dance unique and gives strength to the dance. The chant explains what the dance is about, for example sometimes the dance is about a war, a spirit, or someone.

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