Introduction to the topic – Thomas Riot, Nicolas Bancel, Translated and edited by Cadenza Academic Translations “Behind sports and ludo-motor pratices. Sbjectivation and mobilization through the body in sub-Saharan Africa” in Politique africaine Volume 147, Issue 3, July 2017, pages 5 to 22
It is September 12, 2007, and we are in Nyamirambo, a neighborhood of the Rwandan capital of Kigali. We take the road toward the center of the capital, and stop in front of a building set back from the asphalt. It houses a cultural association that promotes artistic activities. We are there to attend a demonstration of a war dance. A group of about fifteen young boys and girls seem very proud to perform a series of measured steps, interspersed with the leaps, attacks, dodges, and retreats by which—in their instructor’s words—they will “make Rwanda reborn.” We ask the “master” which dance movement is the most important to learn. He grabs a wooden stick to serve as a “lance,” and goes to the center of the space and adopts a bellicose smile. His movement begins from the legs: flexing them lightly, he shifts his pelvis into anteversion. The curve of the spine provoked by this action lets him thrust out his chest. He then places his hands on his thighs, one on each side, with his arms bent at an angle similar to that of his knees. As our gaze focuses on the hand that holds the “lance,” we see it bend, followed immediately by a supination of the “lance hand.” In fact, hand and lance are coupled in a single coordinated action that the dancer performs without needing to bend his elbow.
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