What is pure intimidation? A raw essence of sheer power matched only by sheer numbers in today’s technology driven world we often forget about this idea of power and how it can be used in its truest form.  The traditional war dance of New Zealand otherwise known as the Haka is a pure look at the power of pure intimidation and creates a sense of oncoming and impending doom to adversaries on the receiving end of its wrath.   What makes the Haka so intimidating? And for that matter in what context does it serve in today’s world?

   As a witness to the Haka you as the viewer would see a wall of people coming closer to you as this wall approached you would begin to hear deep chants.  Chants repeated by this line over and over again as a unison ……the line counties to move slowly closer.   As the line creeps forward the chants become louder you begin to notice the ground beneath you beginning to shake and rumble as the steps of the line almost seem to be shattering the earth……the line counties to move closer.   By this point the line is close enough to were you the on looker can see the fire in the lines eyes , a line of people chanting and stomping together moving slowly closer to you without hesitation  , what do you do ? run ? fight? ……the line counties to move closer.    Playing off the physiological fear of human the Haka employs the power of intimidation to stun and confuse the opponents .   Rather than attacking full force the Haka creates the sense of impending doom in which the aggression of the chants and the power of the stomps create an earth shattering destructive nature that directly effects the opponents fears.  Through this we can see early signs of psychological warfare within what could be classified as a primitive tribe , a fascinating discovery within the context that this power explosion is at its root considered a dance.

     We often say that dance has the power to do this or that but what does this really mean ?  Can dance shake the mountains or cause fear in the viewers eyes?  Perhaps but to what extent and what purpose would or does this serve.   Throughout this semester I have been looking at the many dance forms we have studied and wondered what have they offered to the dance world .  We could argue these ideals for hours without ever coming to a true answer and that is because we all have different opinions .  What one person sees as power the other may see as weakness and vise versa that is the beauty of this art we are free to interpret.  For me and my understanding I consider the Haka to be a display of power in a pure form the question is what correlations can I find in today’s society that exudes this same power within our dance world.

Brett Cox

Winkler, Jeff. Reason; Jun2009, Vol. 41 Issue 2, p11-11, 1/4p, 1 Color Photograph

–    http://www.tourism.net.nz/new-zealand/about-new-zealand/haka.html


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