Monday, February 25, 2013

NORWAY - Hat-trick and fiddle


Hat-trick and fiddle

Picture a cockfight without bloodshed. Halling is a highly competitive music and dance tradition, where men are like roosters, trying to impress women with their skills. Meet two up-and-coming performers offering a small taste of the Norwegian folk tradition.

The halling dance is the most ancient documented dance of North Europe, and it´s roots go back to 2500 years old cave paintings. It is a show-off dance involving displays of prowess and acrobatics. The drama of the performance is build up by a fiddler who has to give the dancers enough impetus to perform the various challenging moves that are involved in the dance: “The neck jump”, “going over the head” - and especially the “throw”. The moves are seen as a test of strength, one of the characteristic tricks involves kicking down a hat that is held about 230 to 280 cm above the floor. The most famous move from the halling dance worldwide is probably the head spin performed by Norwegian dancers in The United States of America around 1910-1920. Later the break dance has made this move known to the whole world. Ulf-Arne Johannessen has won the national championship in traditional dance twice and has toured the world with a halling dance ensemble aiming to popularize the traditional folk dance. He is coming to the Jaffna festival to perform together with fiddle player Erlend Viken, who has won several prestigious national folk music competitions. 

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