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Banam Bay Kastom Dance Photo Gallery

Written by Cathy Siegismund
September 2003

The kastom dancing at Banam Bay was our favorite in Vanuatu. The men performed four dances and then the women and young children performed three dances. It seemed like almost every one in the village had turned out to perform their dance for us. The dancing was great, and the enthusiasm of the village was wonderful. They also seemed really interested in us, where we were from, what our jobs had been, where we had traveled, and so on.

John Eady led us into the nasara, where we met some of the men in the village and were given woven leis.

Meeting some of the village men before the kastom dance

A group of the small village boys, then carried plastic chairs out into the nasara for us to use.

Small village children taking care of the seating arrangement

John Eady then introduced us to Dixon, one of Chief Saitol's grandchildren. Dixon introduced himself and welcomed us to the kastom dance.

Dixon, Chief Saitol's grandson

John Eady then directed  us where to stand and when we could move to the other end of the nasara for photos and the dancing began. The men performed four dances for us, including the dance performed when a pig is killed, as well as a marriage dance and the dance performed when a boy is circumcised.


The men who sang and played handheld drums during the dancing




The men's dance then moved to another area of the nasara

This section of the nasara was surrounded by tamtams and contained a hut that housed sculptures representing gods and ancestral spirits.



After the men's four dances, we were shown to an adjacent cleared area where all the village women and small children in traditional costume had gathered to perform three dances for us.



After a couple of dances, the women from the boats were invited to join in the dancing.



Cath joining in the women's kastom dancing at Banam Bay

After the women finished dancing, we all went around and shook hands with all of the women and children in the village. It was startling to shake the hands of a women in the traditional Ni-Vanuatu dress and have her say "Hi Cathy", remembering my name from earlier in the day walking along the beach.

We then were lead back to the men's section of the nasara, where John Eady lined us up and asked us to introduce ourselves and tell them where we were from, what our jobs had been and what our impressions of Vanuatu were. We then shook hands with all of the men and where asked to be seated on a woven mat where we were served a huge platter of laplap.

Sharing laplap with John Eady and a local boy after the dancing


After we finished trying the laplap, the rest of the men dived in to finish it off. We chatted some more with the locals and took pictures with them.

Dixon and Cath playing the hand drums

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