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Every year, on 13th and 14th April,
millions of Sikhs all around the world
celebrate their most holy day in their calendar, Vaisakhi.
Yes, the celebrations serve a dual purpose - on one hand,
it's the chance to have a sense of celebration and occasion for Sikhs,
but it's also seen as the beginning of harvest,
which indicates a time of happiness.
The days are marked with street processions
and the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book,
is carried in a place of honour.
As well as chanting scriptures,
singing and dancing is very much a part of the celebrations,
and we're lucky enough to be joined by the 4x4 Junior Bhangra Group
to give us a bit of a demo.
OFF-KEY TIN WHISTLE MELODY
Morris dancing - it's as English as fish and chips, isn't it?
But what's it all about?
Your town, village or whatever
would have had a traditional dance. You've got the Cotswolds,
there's a lot of dances from there.
The dances we do come from the borders of England and Wales.
We've also got northwest dances.
Obviously, that's from the cotton mills of the northwest of England.
East Anglia - you've got molly dancing from there.
From the Sheffield area, you've got sword dancing
because of... the pieces of steel, anyway.
In the coal mining areas of Yorkshire, you have rapper,
and the rapper is a short sword,
but also, it was used to clean pit ponies.
'At the time of the Reformation,
'people were stopped from celebrating a lot of religious things,
'whether they were pagan or Christian, it didn't really matter.
'So, they blacked their faces so you didn't know who was doing it.'
RAUCOUS PLAYING AND WHISTLING
100 years ago,
dances from this area were collected by a chap called Cecil Sharp
and he wrote down what he saw,
and this information is stored in Cecil Sharp House in London.
When you start a morris dance side,
or you're interested to start a side,
you get information from Cecil Sharp House,
which is your framework and you build on that framework.
You see a lot of people using sticks and bells.
We'll always have bells on.
The sticks, when they beat the ground with them, or clash them,
it was to frighten away evil spirits and to bring fertility to crops.
And the bells were the same - it was a noise that you made
to wake up the spring and have a good harvest after.
ACCORDIONS PLAY, BELLS JINGLE
The side from York have devised their own dance,
adding to the tradition. So, what does it all mean?
Well, that particular dance was called Wiltshire Wedding
and it used to be danced at a wedding
to celebrate the couple...couple's nuptials, I suppose that's the word.
And the idea is that the figure of eight that we do
is to signify everlasting love.
And at the end, when we make the circle with these garlands,
the couple should be in the middle.
-What's the story of this dragon, then?
Most morris sides have got a dragon or a horse or a donkey,
or something similar.
An animal normally accompanies morris sides when they're dancing.
It started life as Old Nick, the Devil.
In morris dancing, there are circles
and circles are magic, the Magic Circle,
which Old Nick, the Devil, must never enter.
RAMSHACKLE BRASS MUSIC AND BELLS
ACCORDION MUSIC AND BELLS
The type of dancing that we do is called Welsh border morris.
And it is thought that the working class, back several hundred years,
would sew lively, colourful bits of ribbon on their coats.
It was also thought that they were derived from poachers' jackets,
an early form of camouflage-type jacket to hide in the undergrowth.
Handkerchiefs are normally done by Cotswold morris dancers.
They represent court dances of the 17th century.
They are basically a mickey-take of the hierarchy and the gentry.
The hat is also feathers from spoils,
from game, from animals that have been caught.
Samba is the principal music and dance
of Brazilian city Rio de Janeiro.
It has fast-paced rhythmic movement and bright, imaginative costumes.
The dance is often accompanied by percussion instruments
and sometimes a small guitar, the cavaquinho.
Samba's origins date back to the 16th century
and combine elements of Portuguese culture
from the settlers who colonised Brazil
and traditions of the African slaves that came there.
Many types of samba have evolved since then.
Today, the most famous display of samba happens
at the annual carnival in Rio de Janeiro.
This attracts hundreds of thousands of performers and spectators
-Andy, I know you've wanted to do samba for so long...
-..now you're getting your chance!
-Jackson, welcome. Guys, welcome.
-What's the first move I'm going to learn?
-The box, kick and step.
The box, kick and step.
So, right, left, left, right... OK, I like this.
-Left, right, left...
-Right. Even Gethin's picking it up!
I'm way off.
-Now, can we get more exciting?
-A bit more interesting.
-We're going to ask you to do a kick.
-A kick with it? All right.
Right, so... Left,
-OK, so on the first step you kick back?
It reminds me of the four corners of the box.
-The four corners of the box, exactly.
-Right, left, right, left...
-Right, left... Kick!
I'm excited, I really am!
-It's getting there!
There's a big smile on his face, that's the most important thing!
The next step we're going to learn is the samba sequence.
-You're going to step your right foot...
-Right foot back.
-Right foot again.
-Right foot again.
-Left and turn.
Oh, OK, OK, this one's interesting, OK!
So, right foot, left foot, left foot and turn again!
And your hat!
And your hat again. She seems to be doing it quicker, can we speed up?
Five, six, seven, eight -
One, two, three, four,
-Nice! I like that!
-Not bad! It's nearly there!
Nice! I'm feeling the groove! How was that compared to my box step?
Very good, you're definitely getting that Brazilian xinga.
I love that word, "xinga"! What's the next step?
Your next step, you're going to try to learn the basic samba.
-The basic samba, OK.
-So, basically, you move your hips first.
-OK, start with my hips first.
The rhythm is one, two, one, two.
TOGETHER: One, two, one, two.
If you think about the rhythm, it's a double-time there.
-One, two, one, two...
-TOGETHER: One, two, one, two...
-Move your feet.
I'm basically swinging my hips from left to right
and moving my feet at the same time. Julia's doing it quickly,
-can we try and speed it up?
Five, six, seven, eight.
What do I need to remember?
Just keep my body straight, or...?
-Just remember the beats.
-One, two, one, two, one, two, one, two.
OK, think of the beat. One, two, three, four,
one, two... D'you know what, I love this!
Now, it's time for the moment of truth.
He's looking forward to it, he's got a big smile on his face.
Alongside the London School Of Samba, it's Andy Akinwolere! Take it away!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
ALL: Well, saal mubarak!
Which means Happy Diwali!
Diwali is celebrated by Hindus all over the world.
It's like New Year celebrations,
when families and friends get together.
There are firework displays, parties, presents
-and fabulous feasts.
-Diwali means "Festival of Light",
so Hindus light "diwas", or candles, around their homes
to celebrate the safe return of Lord Rama
after rescuing his wife Sita
from Ravana, the ten-headed demon.
Rangoli patterns are placed on the doorsteps of homes
to welcome happiness and good fortune.
TRADITIONAL INDIAN MUSIC
-So, why are you dancing with sticks?
The gods Radha and Krishna, they used to play with it
and it's a tradition that's been carried on since then.
It can't just be girls that do this...
Nope, anyone any age can do it.
-Can I have a pair of sticks and have a go?
-Show us what to do.
-Hold it in the middle.
-GIRLS: Then twirl it round your head.
-Yeah, like that.
-GIRLS: Remember to hop.
So, we'll start up here. We'll have a bit of music
and see how we get on, cos I did have a little practice earlier.
Oh, here we go, look at this...
Forgot a little bit there, but guys, what did you think to that?
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Educational programme for five- to eleven-year-olds exploring celebratory dances from bhangra to samba, and dandiya raas to morris dancing. Features dances associated with festivals including Vaisakhi, Diwali and Mardi Gras.