Ibyiwacu community volcanoe national park

(c) Virunga Lodge

Dance with a reformed poacher Community visit to Iby’iwacu village

The essence of a community visit to Iby’iwacu village

Take a trip to Iby’iwacu village, where the villagers have convinced a group of ex-poachers to turn their back on their former lifestyle and create a traditional dance group that performs for visitors on a cultural village tour. Known as The Intore, or The Heroes, this ancient form of celebration is based on the victory dance of the Rwandan kings. When not watching the traditional dances and drumming performances, you can step into the traditional dwelling of the local king, watch an authentic medicine man preparing his herbal concoctions or try your hand at shooting the traditional weapon of bows and arrows.

Lively music and festive dance plays a great role in the traditions of all the people of Rwanda. One of Africa’s most dynamic and least well known musical traditions, the Ballet of Rwanda is performed by the Intore, the chosen ones, and was at one time danced exclusively for the royal court.  The dance is performed by men dressed in grass wigs and carrying spears, who wear little tinkling bells on each foot, providing a ringing rhythm as the background music. The ‘Dance of Heroes’ is about returning warriors, celebrating victory in battle. Complex choreography reveals the performers shifting from side to side, blending agility and grace with raw aggression.