Banam Bay Kastom Dance Photo Gallery
Written by Cathy Siegismund
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
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
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
Cath joining in the women's kastom dancing at
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
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