Every culture in societies across the globe boasts traditional characteristics that are unique if not to a people, than to a specific region. Human culture is expressed and preserved in a number of ways. The most common that come to mind are often historical texts, but for some societies there are different forms of passing down traditions from one generation to the next.

On the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar, the various cultures of the island share a love of dance and use this tool as a primary means for sharing traditions between the generations. At the same time, each culture on the island uses dance as a forum for passing down cultural history that is considered secret and sacred. As a result, many of the island’s dances are not understood or appreciated by the outside world.

Andrien Dadiva has stepped into this world with little more than a passion for dance and made it a goal to decipher dance in the nation of Madagascar and help ensure that its preservation for future generations is assured.

Who is Andrien Dadiva?

The beauty of cultural traditions is that it doesn’t take a professional to work within the confines of a genre in order to promote its identity and educate others. By all accounts Andrien Dadiva is your average human being. Andrien’s time in school consisted of studies in accounting, not dance or cultural history.

All that Andrien has brought to the world of dance is a passion for dance, a desire to learn, and the drive to preserve dance so that it may be understood and appreciated by future generations. Although an avid dancer at a young age, it was not until the age of 20 that Andrien set out on a path to learn more about dance and strive to make contributions to the preservation of historical dance in Madagascar.

Madagascar’s Unique Culture

Culture on the island nation of Madagascar is similar to that of its neighbouring creole nations such as La Reunion, Mauritius, and Seychelles. Various ethnicities combined over centuries of time to form the native cultures of Madagascar. Among the biggest contributors were Austronesian people arriving via outrigger canoes from Borneo, Bantu people crossing the Mozambique Channel from Africa, travelers from India, and of course European colonizers.

As a result of its isolation on an island, a unique culture came into existence on the island. While native cultures are dominant representing some 90% of the current population, there are 18 recognized sub-groups within this cultural definition. Regardless of the specific cultural background however, the people of Madagascar share a love of a dance and a common view towards the artistic medium.