Bele Kawe
(African-Carribean Island of Carriacopu)

Background: Bela Kawe is a traditional African-Caribbean folk dance that originated from West African and Caribbean culture. This dance tells a story of two women who are having a friendly competition for a man’s attention. The first part of the dance represents the women trying to get the man’s attention, while the last part represents the warding off of any bad spirits that may be standing in the woman’s way.  There are many different versions of Bela Kawe. This dance can be performed in multiple lines or in a circle. The legs remain bent during the whole dance and the body has a feeling of being “grounded”. The upper body should move freely and the whole dance should have a feeling of energy or vibrancy The three Parts, 1, 2, and 3 each contain a repetitive movement pattern. This means the movements are performed over and over until the drummers or the dancers call to change to another part or movement pattern. There is not a specific amount of counts for each repetition of the pattern.

Grade: Secondary  Middle and High School

Equipment: CD/MP3 player, African music, pictures of African dancers or artifacts from Africa such as clothing, drums,sculptures or art work.

Single Circle.  Dancers facing into the circle

Movements:  Shuffle, Heel Touch, four step turn with jump on fourth step, in some versions the Shuffle is replaced with a Rock step.


Part 1. Shuffle forward with the right foot, (3 counts)  repeat Shuffle with the left. (3 counts).  Continue alternating shuffle steps forward for as long as the lead dancer or drummer decide to continue the pattern or use this pattern  R   L   R  L. Males hold the backs of their hands on hip pockets, women pretend to hold the hem of a long skirt.  Or everyone can swing arms up and out to the sides above shoulder height and in toward the chest on each shuffle step forward.

Part 2. Right Heel touch to the right side of the body then bring feet together. (2 counts).  Repeat with left heel to the left. (2 counts).  Continue alternating the heel touch for 16 counts, use the pattern, R L R L R L R L.  The arm, on the same side of the body as the heel touch, bends at a 45 degree angle to the side with the hand pointed up.  The other hand is bent at a 45 degree angle to the side with the hand pointed down. Or arms together can swing down on each heel touch.

Part 3. Complete a 4 step turn to the right and jump on the fourth count. (4 counts)  Then the four step turn to the left on the fourth count.  (4 counts).  The step turn and jump is repeated to the right, left, right, left .

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