KABYLE DANCE BY TAFSUT IMAZIGHEN AT YENNAYER 2970 (AMAZIGH NEW YEAR)
Tafsut Imazighen, meaning "Berber Spring" is a dance group of young women who perform traditional Kabyle dance with touches of contemporary choreography. They are performing here for annual Yennayer celebration held at Murmrr Theater in Prospect heights, Brooklyn. Yennayer is the indigenous new year for North Africans.
Yennayer is the new year for the Imazighen of North Africa (singular Amazigh), the indigenous groups spread amongst Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and even Egypt. It is celebrated on the 11th of January every year - and this year (2020) is the 2,970th year for the Imazighen.
One prominent community of the Imazighen in Algeria are the Kabyles that are native to Northern Algeria in the areas of Tizi Ouzou, Bejaia, Bouira, etc. With their resilient spirit and the help of isolated mountainous geography, they have preserved their cultural traditions for thousands of years. It is no surprise that Kabyles in the diaspora keep strong ties with their heritage and also have a strong sense of who they are. Kabilya region has a history of repression, discrimination, and censorship from the anti-indigenous Algerian government that denies their language and identity. Identity transmission is a priority however - - youth are taught from a young age to be proud of their culture, traditions, and speak their Kabyle language and learn about their Tifinagh alphabet.
Yennayer celebration and festivities come to Brooklyn on January 18th, 2020 at Murmrr theater in Prospect Heights, a community event run by local Kabyles who aim to bring their community members together during a particularly historic time for Algerians. The Hirak - the revolution against President Bouteflika and his current oppressive regime in Algeria - is a movement of weekly Friday protests where youth, indigenous communities across the country, and women speak out on their political and socio-economic grievances. The organizers of this celebration have publicized that money from the event will be donated to Hirak initiative and the Kabyles in Algeria have been violently imprisoned due to carrying the indigenous flag while protesting.
Indigenous groups from all over North Africa attended this event, with a large presence of Kabyles from Algeria. It was a typical community event, families, children running around, guys meeting up with their buddies they haven't seen in a while.
North African professional dancers are hard to find, so capturing Tafsut Imazighen was truly a rare occasion. They bring the spirit of Kabyle dance to Brooklyn here in this video.
01182020_FLD_YENNAYER_INTERVIEWDEMO, by NYSCA Living Traditions