How to dance sega

Sega in Mauritius - Sega Dance and Music

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Mauritius Guide

Sega in Mauritius

The Sega is a dance which originated from the ritual music of Madagascar and the mainland of Africa, and it is the Musical Expression of the Mauritian Way of Life: Joy and Liveliness.

Originally sung by men and women who had been sold as slaves but whose souls had remained sensitive to music, the Sega is nowadays a folksong which has integrated itself within the framework of our folklore.

The Sega is usually sung in Creole (mother tongue of Mauritians). Many singers had thought of also bringing forward the English version of the Sega songs but later resolved not to proceed with it so as to preserve the uniqueness and cultural richness of the local music of Mauritius.

The original instruments are fast disappearing, making way for the more conventional orchestra ensemble. However, all along the coastal fishing villages, the traditional instruments such as the “Ravanne”, “Triangle”, the “Maravanne” and the traditional guitar are still being used.

Sega Music Instruments

The Ravanne, which is a wooden hoop over which has been stretched a piece of goat skin. The Coco, (Maracas) which represents the percussion section

The “Triangle”, a triangular piece of metal which tinkles when tapped with an iron rod

The traditional guitar which was a single string instrument with an arc attached to an empty "Calebasse”

The “Maravanne” -wooden rectangular box containing sand or seeds

Ambiance of Sega

Traditionally stimulated and inspired by local rum, the fishing folks gather around a camp fire. Very often they dance without any music at all and are accompanied only by the sound of the” Ravanne”, the tinkling of spoons, the rattling of seeds/sand in a tin, and the clapping of hands of spectators who eventually join in .

The Sega Dance

The dance itself is the rhythmic swaying of the hips to the pulsating rhythm of the Ravanne. The following description will give you a vivid image of the Sega dance:

The man usually stands in the dancing area with hands on the hips waiting for the girl to shuffle towards him, wiggling, hip-balancing and waving a colorful handkerchief invitingly. Then the partners face each other with a waist-and-shoulder grasp and ... the improvisation starts.

It starts with a gentle swaying, to a slow and solemn tune, which gradually rises and you find the dancers swaying with animated movements to keep pace with the ever-increasing tempo.

The beat creeps inside you and as your body responds to the rhythm, you are carried to heights of ecstasy, generating a vibrating force that shakes the "lead" off your feet and inspires you to a high-spirited and free way of dancing.

Tiring perhaps, but exhilarating! Never mind if your movement does not follow the rhythm . .. Simply carry on dancing and you will be amazed how rhythm and movements synchronize afterwards.

Do you want to dance Sega?

(i) Just let yourself go -- as long as you do not step on your partner's feet!

(ii) When you hear "En Bas! En Bas!" (Down, Down) bend your knees and lower your body gently downwards while swaying your hips to the rhythm

(iii) Women are not advised to wear mini-skirts. A colorful full- length patterned skirt and blouse is preferable

(iv) Men are free in their choice of costumes. Open-neck or bush shirt will do, but formal wear can be a handicap

Significance of Sega for Mauritians

The Sega is a cry from the soul trying to transcend the miseries and heartaches of life, while at the same time expressing the universal human desire for joy and happiness. It tells the joys and sorrows of the peasants and the fishing folks. It is a nostalgic heritage of the villagers. Its beats, gripping in intensity, now provide entertainment to Mauritians of all walks of life in towns and villages. Today the Sega and its beat are a part of every Mauritian's life.

If it happens to you to attend a Sega show and join in, you will definitely be enchanted and impressed!

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Lee - Sega: the Mauritian Folk Dance

Jacques Lee – Sega: The Mauritian Folk Dance


Chapter 1 : What is Sega ?

Sega History - Sega was originally the “soul dance” [18] of exiled African slaves in Mauritius. Over a century ago, the villagers would gather together and sing and dance – these events were known as tiéga or tchéga. The word ‘sega’ appeared for the first time in the 1880s. Today, sega is a combination of dancing and singing, a courtship drama “described as ‘symbolic wooing’” [18]. The lyrics are in Creole and often have multiple meanings, usually sexual. The traditional gatherings described above are not often encountered these days – they are known as classical sega, or séga typique. Currently, sega is usually in the form of séga salon or séga hotel – sega danced in the houses or hotels.

The Dance - The instruments that accompany traditional sega are relatively simple: goatskin drums with bells on them, coconut shells or wooden boxes with dried seeds inside, metal triangles, and cooking pots and utensils. The dance is performed by both men and women. It begins as a group dance, then the dancers separate into partners. It is a dance full of sexual tension, but the dancers rarely touch each other.


Chapter 2: The History of Sega

            History of Mauritius - After the Dutch failed to colonize it, Mauritius was taken over by the French in 1715. They imported slaves from Madagascar, West, and East Africa, and it is with these people and the cultures they brought with them that sega began. Sega was first recorded in print (by an older name) in the 1820s by visiting Frenchmen. The verbal root of “sega” is a Bantu root meaning “’play’ and by extension, ‘dance’” [24]. The exact evolution of sega and how it began is unknown, but can be speculated on. The various slaves that were brought by the French all spoke different languages. A Creole language – broken French combined with words from all cultures – developed and was used in singing. The songs of early sega, during slavery, were often were concerned with freedom, the cruelty of their masters, and longing for home.

            Types of Sega – Today there exist many types of sega. Séga salon is danced in the home, while séga hotel and séga touriste are polished and choreographed shows that are performed for visitors. Sega in Rodrigues is known as séga tambour or tam tam, or séga barré or coupé, and has a more energetic and African sound than séga typique. Séga typique is not practiced much in Reunion – traditional instruments have been replaced by modern ones. Sega in the Seychelles is slower than Mauritian sega, and the modern Seychellois sega is similar to modern western popular music. Sega was repopularized in the 1950s, after visits by Catholic missionaries and immigration by those of Indian origin (who all disapproved of the sexualized dance) caused a decline in performance.


Chapter 3: Traditional Sega Instruments

            The instruments of early traditional sega were whatever was easily acquired. Even today, spontaneous sega sessions use whatever is available – and example is a capsil, or bottle caps nailed to a piece of wood that rattle when shaken.

The Instruments:

-          Bobre – crude string instrument, played by plucking.

-          Catia-catiac – coconut shell with seeds, shaken like a maraca.

-          Maravanne – A shaken instrument consisting of a wooden box or sealed tube or sugarcane, filled with seeds.

-          Ravanne – the basic, most important instrument of sega. A goatskin drum with small cymbals attached.

-          Triang – a metal triangle.


Chapter 4: Terms used in Sega Dance

-          Baré – a male dancer will throw his arms open, to prevent his female partner from leaving.

-          Eh-la-eh-la-eh – a sung signal called by the ségatier for everyone to join in.

-          En bas en bas – a spoken invitation by the male dancer for the female dancer to join him in a crouch and perform the ter á ter.

-          Lagam – to get in the mood (“gagne lagam”).

-          Séga – used to refer to the dance, the dance rhythm, and the music. It has the same meaning in many of the island countries surrounding Mauritius.

-          Ségatier – the name for the main sega singer, also sometimes applied to the dancers.

-          Ter á ter – a sexually suggestive dance move in which the male and female dancer crouch down and simulate “the copulating position” [43] while not touching.

-          Trapé largué – translated as ‘hold and release’, it is the pattern of the triangle’s sound

-          Van-vané – The shaking and swaying of skirts by the women in a ‘come on’ fashion.


Chapter 5 – Sega and Sex

            Sexuality has always been part of the sega dance, perhaps stemming from the association of dancing with fertility rites in Africa. The only obscenity to be seen in sega, however, is maybe in the lyrics. The lyrics, in Creole, often have a double meaning that is only understood by those that speak the language. Sega is often accompanied by the imbibing of rum, which can lower inhibitions. Combined with the ever-increasing tempo of the drumbeat, it is understandable that sega could be seen as overly provocative and might get out of control. In reality, it is a formalized dance that follows a pattern that will not get out of hand. It is danced by those of all ages, a “family dance” [49].


Chapter 6: Some Famous Segatiers

            P’tit Frère, the King of Sega – Born Alphose Ravaton, P’tit Frère is most likely the best known ségatier. He has a very rough voice (called la voix cassée – the broken voice), but he was instrumental in reviving sega in the 1950s. He was awarded an MBE for his services to music and has been often recognized by the Minister of Education, Arts, and Culture.

            Serge Lebrasse, the Crown Prince of Sega – Labrasse was a pupil of Ravaton, and has been part of sega since the 1950s. Although he made several records, they were not hugely successful because the songs were not copyrighted and could be sung by any ségatier. Labrasse was the first ségatier tour abroad, receiving top billing at a concert in London. He was also awarded an MBE for services to Mauritian culture.

            Claudio – Claudio is a more recent ségatier who became popular in the 1980s. He has been an important part of modern sega – he often takes a well-known song (Jingle Bells, for example) and turns it into a sega. He has performed a great deal overseas with his troupe of all-female dancers called Satanik.

            Babalé – Originally a fisherman, Babalé found success starting in the late 70s with his group Jupiter. Soon recognized as a talented singer and composer, he sang to crowds of over 10,000 at Mauritian Day in London. He has a very traditional image for one so young, with plain shirts and simple pants.

            Sega in the Family – Sega often seems to run in families – P’tit Frère learned from his father, and Serge Lebrasse’s children are ségatiers. Other families in sega include Roger Augustin and his son Jean-Claude, Michael Legris and his daughter Josie, and many others.


Chapter 7: Modern Sega

            Although séga typique has had a great deal of popularity in its own right, for sega to survive into modern times it had to change. The result is modern sega, which is shorter (five minutes vs. the 15 minutes for traditional sega), has a less-complicated rhythm, is sung in languages other than Creole, and uses modern instruments, particularly the keyboard. Modern sega is polished and very much a show business, and is an export of the country. Séga hôtel in particular is representative of this.

            After Mauritius gained independence in 1968, another form of sega appeared: séga engagé, or political sega. The lyrics were often about political issues. This political sega made sega acceptable to a large audience, an important contribution to later modern sega. In recent years, sega has combined with reggae to create seggae, a genre made popular by the group Racinetatane.


Chapter 8: The Home of Sega

            Rivière Noire (Black River) – One of the nine districts of Mauritius, known as the home of séga typique. It had been the home of runaway slaves, or esclaves marrons, in the days of slavery. It was here that groups first assembled and danced and sang around fires – the birth of sega.


Chapter 9: Sega in Europe

            France - Sega was first introduced to Europe in the 1960s by Gaëlen de Rosnay, a Frenchman with Mauritian ancestry. Maria Séga, a talented Mauritian ségatier tried performing sega in Paris in the 60s and even managed to make a few records, but she had little success in making it catch on. There have been successful sega signers since in France, however. They include Johnny Sheridan, Clarel Betsy, and Princess Stephanie of Monaco.

            England – Despite early attempts in the 60s, it took a while for sega to become popular in England. In the early 70s, an English group called the Creolites privately made a sega record that sold well in Mauritius, but not in England. Two Mauritian groups – not ségatiers, though they played sega – did break through in the 70s and 80s: the Mascarenhas and the Dragons. With the popularity of disco, sega grew in popularity. In 1982, the yearly UK Sega Championship was created, and has been quite popular.


Chapter 10: The Future of Sega

            Unfortunately, sega has not yet had a face to put to the genre – a megastar that could launch it on an international stage. Such stars are often manufactured, though, and so for sega to stay true to its folk-dance beginnings this becomes a tricky problem. A ‘segatorium’ will be built at the Centre Culturel African, where sega can be celebrated in an archive, museum, and performance space. Sega should be recorded as much as possible – the author suggests getting Alphonse Ravaton’s memories on tape. “Sega, hopefully, is here to stay” [101], but the conflict between sharing the music with a wider audience and being true to the genre’s roots should be handled carefully.


All citations are from Sega: The Mauritian Folk Dance by Jacques K. Lee

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SEGA has announced the production of films for its Space Channel 5 and Comix Zone franchises. Japanese publisher says it has signed a deal with 9 production company0362 Picturestart for movie adaptations of 1990s games.

Comix Zone was released in 1995 on the Sega Genesis (Mega Drive in the US) console, followed by a PC port. The musical Space Channel 5 was released as two games for the Dreamcast and subsequently ported to the PS2 and Game Boy Advance.

According to The Hollywood Reporter , the comedy-dance adaptation of Space Channel 5 will tell the story of a hapless fast food worker who is recruited by a reporter from the future to save the world from aliens with silly viral dances. Screenwriters are Barry Battles (" Far Cry 5: At Eden's Gate ", " Outlaw Baytown ") and Neer Paniri (" Extraction ").

The Comix Zone film follows a tormented comic book creator and a young writer of color who find themselves drawn into the world of the latest installment of the hit series. They must put their differences aside in order to thwart a dangerous supervillain. Script writes May Catt (" Young Justice ", " Dragons: Nine Worlds ").

Both adaptations are produced by Toru Nakahara , who has produced the Sonic movies and the Sonic Prime series. The Space Channel 5 team also includes SEGA Game Director Takumi Yoshinaga , while the Comix Zone adaptation is overseen by Kagasei Shimomura .

See also : An insider hints at Lies of P coming to Xbox Game Pass.

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