Berber Culture and Folklore
Berber Ahouch or Ahwash dance is part of Moroccan Berber culture and folklore. Ahouch, known as the dance of the village, is a popular music and dance from the High Atlas and the Anti-Atlas Mountains performed by the Berbers. The lyrics are always in Berber language, in the Tashelhit dialect, which spoken in southwestern Morocco. Ahouch exists in its purest form in the region of Ibrkak located in Tata. The word "Ahouach" means group dances in Berber, dances related to one another, poetic improvisation, individual and group singing in Tashelhit through rhythms alternating from slow to fast.
The Ahouach dance and music bring together villagers, tribes ”Taghbilt” in Berber (usually a group of small villages), families at all important moments of life. Ahouch is part of a celebration and social life of Berbers,and is danced by men and women dancing and singing in harmony - sometimes only by women, sometimes exclusively by men, but always in groups. It begins with an improvisation sung solo, in a shrill voice. Then the men or women in chorus sing songs about love, celebrating nature or events with the rest of tribe drumming, clapping, stomping to the rythem of the movements . The musicians, placed at the center of the dance, standing or crouching, play the bendir “tallunt” which is a framed drum about 15 inches, whose skin was stretched first over a fire. As the pace of the music accelerates, dancers, initially motionless, begin to move slowly with a slight swaying shoulders and hips in a circle. Ahwash specific dance details can change from village to village, and small features like color of clothing, hat styles, and jewelry worn by ladies are all incorporated to signal which region and town performers represent.
Ahouch can be seen live during Moroccan "mousems" festivals, which usually happen in the summer season. If you are lucky enough to be invited to a traditional Berber wedding celebrations, you will get a chance to see the stunning Berber dance, discover Berber Jewelry worn during big celebrations, and meet with performers as well. Some restaurants in Marrakesh host live performance that can be enjoyed while having dinner. Alternatively, you will be able to watch live Berber music and dance performances during the summer in many Moroccan cities such as Marrakesh or Agadir, which area usually priced reasonably.