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The Spirit of Masks Rhythm, according to African myth, existed at the beginning of time and is thought to be the source of worlds and their inhabitants. It is the essence of the universe, the fluid energy that runs through all beings; human, animal and plant. It is the magical point of contact of man with nature. Existence is accompanied by dance, the element that animates life and makes it understandable. African dance masks are made with movement in mind. The mask is the vessel that connects man to the spirit world and to the essence of the universe. The mask dancer assumes a new personality, joining with the cosmic energy of the universe. This puts him in contact with the mysterious forces that control him and he gains the capacity to modify human reality and develop it to his own advantage. African ancestors and the symbolic human and animal figures of folklore are part of the spirit world. The dancer becomes the mask he wears and enters the spirit world when he assumes his new personality. Under the spell of the mask, he is able to communicate with the spirits and identify himself with their greatness. He becomes purified and is able to draw from them a new vital energy. The moral and physical strength regenerated in him allows him to face complexities and hostilities which confront him daily. By tapping into the essence of the universe, his renewed vitality dissipates the evil he encounters, changing it into something less harmful.


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