Nampaya Omame: South African Circle Dance

Jaclyn shares another folk dance, Nampaya Omame, a South African circle dance.

Historically the Zulus of South Africa are one of the largest and most influential tribes of the Bantu speaking people. Approximately 7 million Zulus live in the Republic of South Africa. Nampaya Omame (There Come Our Mothers) a traditional song of Zulu origin expresses appreciation for mothers and the care they give their families. Traditional dance, always rhythmic and often improvisational, seldom has a set sequence of steps, unless a few steps are lifted from their cultural context to give young dancers the opportunity to experience an African tradition and dance in appreciations of their mothers.

FormationA single circle and dancers facing toward the center.
PositionThe dancers do not make contact with their neighbors. The arms are free to move expressively in response to the rhythm of the music.
StepsWalk, touch, stamp, rock, side-close, all done with characteristic rhythmic response.
Music2/4 meter with the dance patterns arranged in phrases of 8 counts.
Teaching HintsSadly, some children naturally feel the rhythm, others are not so fortunate. It might be beneficial to begin by having the children simply bounce/move (improvise) to the music. After the children feel comfortable with the foreignness of the music go for the steps.


4 sequences of 8 counts played on an African marimba It’s a good time to improvise.

Pattern A:

With everyone facing the center of the circle, stamp right foot toward the center (1) rock back on the left foot (2) rock back on the right foot (3) rock forward left (4).

Step right foot to right side (5) close left foot to right foot (6) step right foot to right side (7) close left foot to right (8).

Repeat this pattern (8 counts, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

Pattern B

Turn 1/4 right to face counter clockwise in the circle. Step right, left, right (1, 2, 3) touching the left foot to the right foot (4). Each step should be fluid and rhythmic.

Continue to progress around the circle walking left, right, left (5, 6, 7) touching the right foot to the left foot (8).

Repeat this pattern once again to both the right and left (8 counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8).

The Dance repeats patterns A and B two additional times.

Jaclyn Brown is originally from Roosevelt, Utah. Jaclyn hails from Utah Valley University’s (UVU) BFA Modern Dance program, where she performed with Contemporary Dance Ensemble, the department’s pre-professional modern performing group, and also choreographed and performed for Synergy Dance Company. Outside of RDT, Jaclyn performs with Monica Campbell & Dancers. As a member of these companies, Jaclyn has worked with nationally recognized artists, such as, Susan Hadley, Damon Rago, John Allen, Doris Hudson de Trujillo, Jennifer Huffman, Omar Olivas, and Mike Esperanza. Beyond her local training, Jaclyn also traveled to Spain for a study abroad in dance (2010). She also appeared in Alex Boye’s music video “Merci Bon Dieu.” Jaclyn was also honored to first perform for Repertory Dance Theatre as a guest artist in “Commonplace” (2013). Jaclyn is thrilled to be joining the company for her sixth season and would like to thank her husband, family, and friends for their unwavering support.

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