Tsingory Dance Troupe Presents: Dances of Madagascar

by Aleka Allen
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Tsingory Dance Troupe Presents: Dances of Madagascar

Tsingory Dance Troupe members performing Sacred Lake. Photography by Aleka Allen.

On Tuesday February 25, the Toronto Public Library concluded Black History Month with a stellar dance performance by the Tsingory Dance Troupe. The performance was part of the library’s Black History Month programming that celebrates the art, literature, and cultural achievements of Canada’s African and Caribbean communities. The Tsingory Dance Troupe, led by Artistic Director Lento Morse, put on quite the performance in sharing the culture and dances of Madagascar.

 Dances of Madagascar - Fresh print magazine

Audience members performing the Danse du Sud with the dancers. Photography by Aleka Allen.

The entire performance consisted of traditional folk dancing from three different regions of Madagascar. One of the dances that they performed was based on a folk tale called Sacred Lake, which originated in the northwest region of the island. The dancers looked like goddesses as they swerved their hips in the traditional lambas that are wrapped around their waists. The sweeping arm movements were meant to imitate ocean waves and represent the people’s close relationship to their natural environment. The biggest highlight of the performance was the Danse du Sud, a lively dance full of kicks, jumps, and lots of shaking. The co-director of the troupe, Jenni Morse, encouraged audience members to join the dancers on stage who taught the crowd different moves such as the Kidodo. After the Danse du Sud, the children who were onstage returned to their seats and exclaimed, “That was so much fun” and “I was the best!” The last performance of the day was the Tsingory, a playful dance from the nation’s capital, Antananarivo. The dance featured three dancers mimicking birds through repetition and delicate movements of the fingers and hands. At the end of the performance, the troupe held a Question and Answer period where audience members learned more about the musical instruments used in the show. The music played during the show featured an ancestral drum, a thin plastic flute called the Sodina, and a large stringed box instrument called the Marovany. Tsingory’s Musical Director, Elio Moara, captivated the audience as he played the instruments. The way he quickly plucked and alternated the strings on the Marovany created a complex and infectious rhythm that added a spiritual tone to the music.

Tsingory Dance Troupe - Fresh Print

The Ancestral Drum (background) and Marovany (center.) Photography by Aleka Allen.

The Dances of Madagascar performance was a fun and interactive way to wrap up Black History Month at the Toronto Public Library. The audience were treated to a lively presentation that showcased the country’s multicultural influences, its spiritual connection to nature, and the love for the gentle island life. The Tsingory Dance Troupe were professional, lovely, and it was a pleasure learning about Malagasy culture from them.

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