Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 12.COM 11.A.4

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Morocco has nominated Taskiwin, martial dance of the western High Atlas (No. 01256) for inscription on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding:

Taskiwin is a martial dance specific to the western High Atlas mountain range in Central Morocco. The dance gets its name from the richly decorated horn each dancer carries – the Tiskt – and involves the art of shaking one’s shoulders to the rhythm of tambourines and flutes. The practice fosters social cohesion and harmony and provides a key means of socialization for young people. Transmission to young generations mainly occurs informally through direct learning. Due to several factors, however, the dance is now limited to a small number of villages and is at risk of disappearing. Globalization has driven it closer to oblivion, as reflected by young people’s increasing disdain for traditional heritage in favour of modern artistic practices. The dance is no longer practised by several communities and the remaining enthusiasts and bearers cannot find aspirants to whom they can transmit their know-how. Craftsmanship relating to the instruments and accessories is also in decline. Nonetheless, the last two decades have seen an increased collective awareness of the need to ensure the viability of Taskiwin among some communities. To this end, the first dedicated association in the region was created in 1993, an initiative followed by several other villages, and several local associations are now being created.

  1. Decides that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding:

U.1:   The identification is well articulated. The element consists of an artistic dance practised during festive occasions, which serves various social functions. Despite being of martial origin, its social functions have evolved over time and nowadays it serves to accompany celebrations, peacefully resolve tensions within or between communities, and foster community integration. Informal modes of transmission have been maintained.

U.2:   The threats identified include the loss of bearers, in particular due to a severe traffic accident that caused the death of most of the practitioners some years ago. The emigration of young people to urban centers and their lack interest in apprenticeship are also reported. The craft of making the related music instruments is vanishing and there is also an undue commercialization of Taskiwin folk dance.

U.3:   Efforts to revitalize the element were mainly initiated by young community members and fully supported by elders. They include awareness-raising, research and documentation activities dedicated to the tradition, as well as its promotion through festivals, all with the full inclusion of the communities. The element is integrated into the region’s programmes aimed at sustainable territorial development. Other specific measures include: the organization of Taskiwin associations into a federation; the diversification of sources of funding for activities; direct and informal apprenticeships with elders and the establishment of archives. The safeguarding plan is coherent and feasible. Clear objectives and measures are described and respond to the perceived theats.

U.4:   A local association initiated the nomination process, and the file was prepared with the active participation of stakeholders and representatives including elderly persons, youth, women, a variety of bearers and researchers. Wide public consultation was supported by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund within the framework of the preparatory assistance. Written consents and video clips attest to the broad community endorsement.

U.5:   The element has been included in the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2014, with the participation of the communities concerned. It is administered by the Cultural Heritage Directorate at the Ministry of Culture, which ensures its periodic updating.

  1. Inscribes Taskiwin, martial dance of the western High Atlas on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.