Oromian Dance of Ethiopia

Oromian Dance of Ethiopia

Whenever you visit a new country there are chances that you can get a culture shock and I did get my fare share while my East African tour of 2007. During an International conference I came across a group of dance performers from Ethiopia, consisting of male and female participants along with backup vocals and musicians it was a treat to the ear and the eyes.

Oromo Dance

Ethiopia is divided into nine states and each one of them have a different traditional dance forms. One of the most prominent among them is the dance from the Oromia region. The language spoken by the Omoria people is Omoro which in itself is a very ancient language and a part of Afroasiatic language family.

The songs which are sung during the dance performance are very different from the traditional African type, the emphasis is given more to string instruments than drum beats. The vocals are also quite unique and a flavour of Afro- Asian influence can be easily heard. The uniqueness of this Shoa Oromo dance form is the violent shaking of the head and the shoulder by the performers. The women go from a slow circling of the head in the air to a sudden increase to a complete break neck speed. The head movement can be so dramatic that the audience from other parts of the world will surely expect these performers to have neck made of rubber and spring.

These women leave their hair untied which creates a more visual effect of the head movement. The men of the other hand starts with a slow jerk of the head to a complete unimaginable machine like head movement.

Male and Female Oromian Dance Performers
Male and Female Oromian Dance Performers


Though this is a group dance but when a performer performs these special movement of the head and the shoulder others move to the side and slow dances in a pattern. Together with the background music it creates a wonderful entertaining performance.

Female Oromian Dance Performers
Female Oromian Dance Performers
Male Oromian Dance Performers
Male Oromian Dance Performers

There are several other dance forms in Ethiopia and Shoa Oromo is the most popular due to its unique dance movements.

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