Real Men…Dance!

31The Pyrrhic Dance was a war dance originated in Crete and traced to Sparta.  Five year-old boys were trained for it, and it was a chief part of the Festival of Gymnopoedia.  It was performed in Athens during the Panathenai  Festival celebrating Athena.  In Roman Imperial times the Pyrrhic dance was a dramatic ballet on various subjects.  One can imagine the sound of armor, flutes and the slapping of feet on marble, with shouts to the gods.  It was a uniformed display of martial prowess with weapons and shields which not doubt fascinated the Romans.

Does this kind of thing go on today?  No way…utter nonsenseExcept, I was in Germany and a company of New Zealand troops decided to honor the allied soldiers gathered in the training field.  The New Zealanders got into a formation, each soldier made a posture of defiance, shouted, grimaced, and stuck their tongues out in fierce expressions.  As the Moiri language echoed above, feet stomped the ground, and without understanding the words,  I had the overall impression that threats were being released like weapons and there was much appealing to the Gods for the destruction for anyone that opposed them.  After it was over, I remember saying to the British Sergeant Major, “Now…I’ve seen everything.”    He looked at me over his shoulder and said, “Hell, I saw that at the last football game.”

Called the Haka, it is a traditional war dance.  Originally, a way of intimating opponents, it is now used to honor visitors, guests, and in some cases ‘the dead.’  Watch the video, I dare you not to cry.  I am not claiming that there is any direct line between the Pyrrhic Dance and the Haku.  All I am saying is…Real Men Dance.


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