Taskiwin is a Moroccan martial dance originating in western High Atlas mountain range. The dance gets its name from the richly decorated horn each dancer carries, the tiskt, and involves the art of shaking one’s shoulders to the rhythm of tambourines and flutes (UNESCO, s.d.). The taskiwin is traditionally performed at night by around twenty men, nowadays women can participate as well. The dance consists of, sometimes up to 32, different acts. During the dance poems are recited, the choice of the verses depending on the occasion (Oudrhiri 2017). Practitioners are dressed in white with red accents. Men dress in a foukia (dress), rezza (turban) and sarouel as well as a burnous (woolen coat). They put on a ghamd, an embroidered belt with a khâjar (dagger) and wear a tiskt on the left shoulder. Women wear a caftan (the color is not specified), haik, red belt and a ch’bik (silver head jewel).The practice fosters social cohesion and harmony and provides a key means of socialisation for young people (UNESCO, s.d.).
According to Morocco’s list of cultural heritage the taskiwin dates back to the 10th century (Oudrhiri 2017).The martial dance is now limited to a small number of villages and is at risk of disappearing. The remaining enthusiasts and bearers have difficulty finding aspirants to transmit their knowledge. Craftsmanship related to the instruments and accessories is also in decline. Nonetheless, the last two decades have seen an increased collective awareness of the need to ensure the viability of taskiwin among some communities (UNESCO, s.d.). Requiring urgent safeguarding measures, the dance was also inscribed on UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage in 2017.
Local associations dedicated to taskiwin are being created. After the creation of the first association in 1993, the initiative was followed by several other villages.
- Rovsing Olsen, M. (1977). Les taskiwin (danses guerrières) chez les Ayt Tajelt au Haut-Atlas, Mémoire de Cand. phil., s.l.: Université de Copenhague.
- UNESCO. (s.d.). Taskiwin, Martial Dance Of The Western High Atlas. [online] Available at: https://ich.unesco.org/en/USL/taskiwin-martial-dance-of-the-western-high-atlas-01256 [Accessed 1 April 2020]. - Oudrhiri, K. (2017). Ce Qu’Il Faut Savoir Sur La Taskiwin, La Danse Marocaine Devenue Patrimoine Culturel De L’Unesco. [online] Telquel.ma. Available at: https://telquel.ma/2020/04/22/moulay-hafid-elalamy-nous-allons-depasser-les-8-millions-de-masques-produits-par-jour_1680745 [Accessed 23 April 2020].
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