festival kaleta neck rings

kaletaTo kick off the holiday season in Ouidah, it starts off with Kaleta. Essentially a mask dancing competition to commemorate the repatriation of the descendants of slaves sent to Brazil. Once the sun sets, the drums come out and the dancing (and drinking) begins.

ciamokaletaBut before all that, in the afternoon, CIAMO presents its yearly spectacle by students and teachers of the center.

choraleTheatre, dance, chorale, videos, slideshows – this is the time for CIAMO to show Ouidah what is it exactly they do.

tkaleta07How I became involved (other than teaching and working on the multimedia projects) was with the costumes. The clothing was designed by our music teacher (Sim) and sewn by a local tailor.

tkaleta06The orange rings you see around their necks were made by me.

tkaleta01I had help though. The day before the performance, I quickly sewed the tubes and attached velcro to the ends.

tkaleta02Then I forced the staff to come and help me with the most time consuming part: stuffing the rings with scrap fabric.

tkaleta04It might be tedious work, but when there are four people working together it finishes quickly.

tkaleta03Once filled, I biked home to sew the ends shut with my machine.

tkaleta05The next day the kids were ready to go with their completed costumes.

tkaleta08I didn’t make the leg pieces, but I do love them, especially when the kids are moving around in them!

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