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Discovering Tunisia through music and dance

Discovering Tunisia through music and dance

This is culture

A musical to promote Tunisia’s history has opened in the capital Tunis.

The performance employs traditional music and dance to trace Tunisia’s cultural heritage from French colonial rule to date.

Dubbed “El Zaglama”, the show is in recognition of a musician who played a traditional drum made from leather.

“We were immersed with these old songs in an old atmosphere. I was very moved by the song that spoke about France and the Fellagha. Actually, it is really a good show. I wish we had more like this,” said Rania Jerbi, a member of the audience.

A performer Rochidi Belgasmi, who does the belly dance said the show will help teenagers learn more about their heritage.

“The last scene where everybody dances is like a family celebration on the roof or at home or even in the street. People who are creating a distance in the beginning are freed. In fact, in the first scene of the show, you see me tied with ropes. As if I am tied up with the complexes of society and then, little by little, I take off my ropes and the audience’s ropes also,” Belgasmi explained.

The belly dancing style captivates the audience.

“I really liked the idea that a man is dancing that way. Actually, it is more common to see women dancing that way and he broke the rules and performed on stage,” said Ferdaws Ennaifer.

Belgasmi’s performance was geared towards helping people remember their past and get attached to Tunisian folklore.

“In this show, we talk about our recent history, since French colonisation to the present day. Although this is our recent heritage, it’s fading away. There is amnesia. We are losing our collective memory, though it’s not so far,” Belhasmi said.

The show has been on tour across the country since May 2015 but organisers say they need support to keep the show running.