Ahwach represents one of the great cultural traditions of the Amazigh communities of Morocco. It is an art that is linked to the rural world. It is present mainly in the High Atlas and Anti Atlas regions. Ahwach mixes singing, the poetry of words, movement of bodies and instrumental percussion.
It is a collective dance that involves women as well as men in the same choreography.
In an exclusively oral Amazigh culture, Ahwach represents a mode of expression and transmission of the experience of both the individual and the tribe as a whole. Rich in connotations specific to its culture, this artistic tradition brings to life the immemorial times of the Amazigh communities.
In the past, Ahwach was practised on a square located in the heart of the village called “Assarag or Assais” in the Amazigh language. It is a vast courtyard dedicated to all the ceremonies of the community.
Dressed in white djellabas and wearing turbans, the men stand in the centre of the courtyard with tambourines and drums. One of them, bringing his hand to his mouth to give himself resonance, begins a song with a vigorous but haunting voice. This is the Anksalim. He announces that Ahwach has begun.
The women, dressed in white, pink, blue … heads beautifully covered with fringed scarves and adorned with authentic Berber jewelry, then form a circle around the men. Tambourine beats sing this haunting song of call. Women’s youyous punctuate the introduction. The women slowly begin their dance around the men’s group. The rhythm rises to a crescendo.
To the marvellous undulation of the dancers who swing their bodies from bottom to top, is added the beauty of the poetry that enchants an exalted crowd. These women and men, together united, fascinate by their talent of versifying. They compete in the composition of the verses in a challenging atmosphere by varying the themes in all fluidity, from the sacred to the profane: invocation of divinities, the quest for origins, the outpouring of the heart, seduction … This beautiful poetic word accompanies the effervescence of the bodies in full harmony.