A group of traditional performers, the Intore dancers are famous for their moves and their high jumping. Intore dancing, an art form that has been around since before colonial times was originally performed for Tutsi Kings (mwami) and the groups that performed these dances were warriors. The Intore is generally made up of a 3 part performance; women performing a ballet, men performing the warriors’ “Dance of Heroes” and a drumming section.
The moves that the dancers used stay true to their time honoured traditions, and as the performances were originally performed by warrior dancers, there is an element of graceful aggression in their movements. The dances usually tell a story, and the performance will usually denote a battle or a struggle between two tribes. One of the most ancient dancing in Africa, this type of Rwandan dancing also is famous for the dancers performing very high jumps using a special technique which can raise them sometimes 2 meters into the air!
Vocals and other sounds are a huge part of the Intore dancer’s performance as well. Singing in harmony during slower parts of the music, chanting aggressively when the performance builds to a more aggressive stage and the jangle of the bells wrapped around their ankles all add to the stage presence of these group of men. Drumming that accompanies the piece will generally kick in to fasten the pace of the piece and vocals can be used to either denote struggle or peace.
Traditional dress is worn when performing the Intore dance, also known as the ‘Dance of Heroes’. The warrior dancers wear bands of bells around their ankles to create a unique sound as they stamp their feet, carry a traditionally carved shield and spear, and wear sisal fibre wigs (sometimes made of grass).
Overall the Intore dance performance is one of the most popular Rwandan traditions still kept alive today, and tourists flock from all over the world to see these traditional dances and experience some of the heart and soul of Rwanda.