Taskiwin, martial dance of the western High Atlas


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Inscribed in 2017 (12.COM) on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding

© Association Targa-Aide, 2016

Taskiwin is a martial dance specific to the western High Atlas mountain range in Central Morocco. The dance gets its name from the richly decorated horn each dancer carries – the Tiskt – and involves the art of shaking one’s shoulders to the rhythm of tambourines and flutes. The practice fosters social cohesion and harmony and provides a key means of socialization for young people. Transmission to young generations mainly occurs informally through direct learning. Due to several factors, however, the dance is now limited to a small number of villages and is at risk of disappearing. Globalization has driven it closer to oblivion, as reflected by young people’s increasing disdain for traditional heritage in favour of modern artistic practices. The dance is no longer practised by several communities and the remaining enthusiasts and bearers cannot find aspirants to whom they can transmit their know-how. Craftsmanship relating to the instruments and accessories is also in decline. Nonetheless, the last two decades have seen an increased collective awareness of the need to ensure the viability of Taskiwin among some communities. To this end, the first dedicated association in the region was created in 1993, an initiative followed by several other villages, and several local associations are now being created.