We find ourselves in the Ivory Coast and more precisely at Korhogo, in the land of the Senoufo; we arrived this afternoon after an exciting day, spent between local markets, Baule dances and a journey of about four hours.
As soon as we arrived at Korhogo we checked in at the hotel and, after a little relaxation, we are ready for the last activity of today: we go and see the Boloye Dance or Panther Dance of the Senoufo.
We arrive at the Senoufo village, it is not a traditional village, most of the houses are in fact built of bricks and have a Western roof; but the roads are reddish and dusty dirt roads.
There are only us as guests, the others present as a public are the inhabitants of the village and perhaps someone also comes from some nearby village.
This dance is called "of the Panther" because the performers are dressed in a stained fabric overalls and with a mask on the face, also made of cloth, that recalls a leopard; in their hands they have little branches that do not have to fall because they seem to bring bad luck and they have straw on their ankles.
We sit on chairs that they have prepared for us and we wait, while many children try to interpret the dance, someone better someone worse; they are all seriously committed, we see that, even as children, they are fond of this tradition.
At a certain point they turn the children away and start playing stringed instruments, made using huge pumpkins as a sounding board, and the drums; they also use some pumpkins covered with shells or seeds, moreover one or more people exclaim words that seem to mark not only the rhythm but also the movements of the dancers.
The music is quite rhythmic and the dance is acrobatic, the dancers perform one at a time, giving themselves the change, almost challenging themselves with acrobatics.
It seems that this dance was invented by the children who were in the forest to perform a phase of their rite of passage.
The forest is seen by the Senoufo as a mysterious place, full of danger and inhabited by spirits; it is said that some children have started to do this dance to drive away the spirits, this dance today is done on festive occasions like a birth or a funeral.
Honestly I preferred the Baule dance this morning, the rhythm and the movements of the masks were more engaging, but also this dance of the Senoufo is definitely very interesting and deserves to be seen.
After the dance, while we take pictures and chat with the people of the village, Silvan also finds time to play football with the children.
But it is time to return to the hotel, we say goodbye, thank for the hospitality and leave by our car; it's time to enjoy some relaxation and a dinner by the pool.