Heading for UNESCO: Seychelles’ Moutya dance will soon resonate in France
Seychelles will showcase its traditional dance, the Moutya, in a tour in various cities in France and will culminate with a performance at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, according to a top cultural official.
A delegation of 28 Seychellois dancers, musicians and cultural officers will be part of the tour on June 19-29 aimed at promoting the Moutya, which was added to UNESCO’s list of intangible heritage in December last year.
The Seychelles National Institute for Culture, Heritage and the Arts (SINCHA), in collaboration with hotel resort Club Med Seychelles on Sainte Anne Island, organised a show last week to give a taste of the cultural performances chosen for the French tour.
David Andre, the Secretary General of SINCHA, said that this opportunity was offered to Seychelles by the UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Culture, Ottone Ramirez, after the performance of the Moutya at the Dubai Expo.
“[Mr] Ramirez said that it would be interesting for Seychelles to do such a performance at the UNESCO. We have started to prepare since then,” said Andre.
The group will be doing four performances in France and the biggest show will be held in the UNESCO hall on Monday, June 27. The team from Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, will also present a show in a town in Normandy, Petit-Caux, and will also record some programmes for French television.
One of the dancers, Ronny Marengo, said that “more emphasis will be put on the typical dance of the Moutya where dancers will also sing along. The performance will be different from what we did last December at the Dubai Expo.”
The performance in Dubai had been criticized by some spectators for not being the traditional dance but a modern form instead.
Andre said that “we are doing a show and a show is a show. We cannot expect to do it the same way it was done before in open space outside. It is normal for people to have their own opinion.”
He added that the show will begin with the beating of the typical drums, singing and dancing, “then we will show the evolution of Moutya today in 2022, the artist wants to use this to give more exposure to the music and the dance, all in respect of its authenticity.”
Furthermore, Andre added that “this opportunity is unique which will allow Seychellois to show the world what we have; our Kreolite [Creole word for Creoleness and the Creole culture], which means diversity.”
Seychelles’ cultural ambassador Patrick Victor said that this tour will help to revive the Moutya.
“Moutya was banned at one point. Now we are doing our best to revive it and it is a great achievement. The artists in this show are young people who are committed to defending Moutya. There are many children who are interested in it and we hope that young people will take over in this area,” he said.