Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Primal Warfare

The topic of Mauri war dances came up the other day. I knew, from my travels, that they had competitive leagues for them in New Zealand High Schools, but what I didn't know is that the spectator teams followed in full tradition.

For those of you not familiar with Mauri war dances, they were basically the foreplay to the orgy of violence that was Mauri vs Mauri Island warfare. One of the key components of this was the exchange of dances. The home team, if you will, would dance back at the invaders, meeting their display of ego and violence with an equal display of ego and violence. That carries on to this day, with the other teams performing their own dances in the stands of the other teams performance.

That on it's own is an interesting bit of information, but what's more important is that this practice was deeply invested into their culture when the Western world began documenting them somewhere in the colonial era. I can't say for certain how far back it goes, but I can say with some degree of certainty that this shows the ancient and if you will classical roots of dance fighting. We're all aware of the modern variations, where team after team is mercilessly served as those with the flow rock the house, but how far back does this actually go? It could easily pre-date the printing press. It may predate democracy. We know that there has been dancing back into human pre-history. We also know there has been warfare. Isn't it only reasonable to assume that dance fighting goes back to the roots of civilization itself?


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