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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

Beluch dancing was very similar


Contortions

and suggestive waist movements are much indulged in Persian dancing, as well as throwing the body backwards with the hands almost touching the ground behind and walking while in this position--not unlike an exaggerated form of the "cake-walk" of our American cousins.

Each dance is closed by the dancer throwing himself down upon his knees in front of the musicians, or in turn before each of the spectators.

Beluch dancing was very similar, although much simpler. The two photographs, reproduced in the illustrations, which I took at Sibi, show one a row of Beluch musicians, the other a Beluch boy in the act of dancing a sort of toe-and-heel dance, in which with extended arms he gradually fluttered round, keeping time with the music. In some of the quicker movements he either snapped his fingers or used wooden castanets, or held the pleated skirt of his coat fully extended like butterfly wings. There was very little variation to his dancing which, like the Persian was more a feat of endurance and speed than a graceful performance. The ankle did most of the work.

[Illustration: The Beluch-Afghan Boundary Cairn and Malek-Siah Mountains in Background.]

Somewhat more wild and primitive was the _chap_ which I witnessed at a camp in north-west Beluchistan. It consisted in swinging the body from right to left, lifting up now one leg and then the other,

and waving the head to and fro in a most violent manner. The Beluch get much excited over this dance, which requires some degree of stubborn tenacity, and the spectators urge the dancer to continue when he shows signs of getting tired. All superfluous clothing is discarded in a most alarming manner at various stages of this performance, and the arms are flapped vigorously against the naked body which is made to sound like a drum. The performance is not allowed to stop until the dancer is quite exhausted, when he simply collapses in the arms of one of his friends. The musical accompaniment to this dance verges on the diabolical, the rhythm of what melody there is being interspersed with abundant howls, yells and snapping of fingers from the enthusiastic crowd all round.

CHAPTER XXIX

An excellent track--A quaint rock--A salt rivulet--Laskerisha--Mahommed Raza-chah--Beluch encampment--The horrors of photography--Maternal love--A track to Mirjawa--Kirtaka--Direct track to Sher-i-Nasrya--Track to Cabul--Sand-hills--A wide river bed--A high yellow pillar--Undulating track--Ten sharp-pointed peaks.

From Robat (altitude 3,480 feet) we took the capital road which followed a dry river bed until we got quite away from the hills. When the track turned south-east a beautiful view of the Afghan desert south of the Halmund, was obtained to the north-east, while south-south-east (180 deg., bearings magnetic) stood a high peak, the Saindak Mount. We first skirted very rugged mountains to the south-west which were brilliant in colour and had many peaks fluted by water erosion. Sand-hills gradually dwindled away, leaving long, flat-topped sand-banks invariably facing north. To the south was quite a high sand mountain.


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