Kenya: Pokot – Adango, Dancing Under the Stars

“Adango” is a common dance or game organised by young men, that is played during the nigh, or at the end of some feasts and ceremonies such as “Sapana” (the initiation of young men).

The most frequent dance is the one organised by the young men of the community every night. Married people can go and dance as well; but as they grow older they feel less like jumping. The dance starts after supper and continues until past midnight, occasionally making it all the way to the dawn. The duration of the dance depends on the people present, and on their number. This dance is about singing to the favourite bull or oxen of each man present; the songs have been composed by each individual present. They praise the colour of the bull, the shape of the horns and the places where the bull grazes and drinks water. Young girls like to join the young men in the dancing, but they do not stay for long since as their mothers do not like them to be out too long with the boys during the night.

The dance takes place in the middle of a small circle, in which the women face east while the men face west. The man who wants to jump goes into the middle and starts jumping, alone or with other men. The girls will soon join them. The singer for that moment joins the circle and claps hands whiling singing. All the others present clap their hands rhythmically together with him.

Kidango is a good form of entertainment and fosters the creativity of the young and their relationships with one another. In case the youths don’t ask permission of the elders and extend the dance beyond 3:00 a.m, they will be punished for their disobedience. This is mainly because by not sleeping, the young are not ready for their work next day. The young men will be compelled to kill an oxen to the elders for the wrong they have done. They will be blessed and the elders will eat their meat happily. So pleased by their dinner, some of the elders will even congratulate the youths for their misdeed and encourage them to repeat the same mistake tomorrow!

Another play dance is called Kinchölöt which is also accompanied by jumping. This dance is performed on some special occasions such as feast days like Sapana, and also when the children play outside the village at night, During this time, women or girls come to a site chosen for the dance and sing songs. The songs describe events carried out by people: fights, thefts, adultery, misfortunes or great deed by famous men. Boys or young men can also dance with the young ladies. When jumping, the dancers can also hold hands.. When people jump in the centre of the circle, the others clap their hands following the rhythm of the song.

Kinchölöt is a form of entertainment as well as a form of cultural educative. Young children hear about what happened in the community’s past, and about the kind of behaviour that makes people laugh. This will help the young to avoid certain deeds that could get them scorned or derided by the group.

Subscribe to our mailing list!

Recent Posts