Saturday, September 08, 2007

A Chorus Line

I know next-to-nothing about Rugby (or Rugby Union to be precise), but I can't help being fascinated by the tradition of the New Zealand National team to do a haka (a Maori dance combining postures, slaps, vocalizations, grimaces, and occasional leaps) before each match. I also know next-to-nothing about traditional hakas, but if the purpose in the sporting context is to build and demonstrate team solidarity as well as to put fear into the minds of the opposing team, then I'd say that the haka is rather effective.

Kieran Healy of Crooked Timber has three video examples, demonstrating the development of the form over time. And here is an additional example, comparing and contrasting pre-match choreography from the NZ and Tongan teams.

Now, I'd like to see some orchestras develop pre-concert hakas. A little more team spirit is always good in the pit or on the stage and I don't know one conductor who wouldn't benefit from a bit of fear and humility in front of a terrifying band of grunting, shouting, dancing musicians.

2 comments:

ComposerBastard said...

isnt a haka what they do at the proms by some audience members as the stage is reset for soloists and the like?

Phillip Walker said...

Wait a minute ... who say that the New York Phil isn't a terrifying band of grunters, shouters, and dancers? They are and they don't even have to do the haka.