Groupe Jeunesse Tizwite (previously known as Ahidous Tizwite) was founded sixty-nine years ago in the southern Moroccan town of Kelaat Mgouna, to preserve and promote the ancient cultural traditions of the indigenous Amazigh (Berber) tribes of the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, in particular, the famous ‘Dance of the Bees’, after which the group is named.

Ahidous is the traditional form of entertainment and celebration in Amazigh villages to mark events such as harvest and weddings. It is a collective performance: the whole village joins in, with the male and female dancers and musicians standing shoulder to shoulder, either alternately or a line of men facing a line of women. The songs are call and response in form and are accompanied by reverberating frame drums (bendir) and rhythmic hand claps. The music and dance are fast and furious, and never more so than in the ‘Dance of the Bees’: the lines of performers interweave, turn and spin faster and faster as the dance progresses, evoking the frantic movements of bees in the hive. The men wear long white or yellow robes and turbans, yellow leather ‘babouche’ slippers and intricately-decorated leather wallets. The women also wear white, but with multi-coloured, embroidered leather ‘babouches’, colourful headdresses, shawls and heavy necklaces.

Groupe Jeunesse Tizwite is one of Morocco’s most famous traditional ensembles, winning annual awards at the many cultural festivals throughout the length and breadth of the country, including: 1st prize at the National Ahidous Festival at Ain Leuh; 1st prize at the Boughamin Festival of Folkoric Arts; 1st prize at the Kelaat Mgouna Rose Festival; 2nd prize at the National Festival of Popular Culture in Marrakech.

It has won international acclaim at festivals in Algeria, Austria, Canada, Chile, China, France, South Korea  – and at the Llangollen Eistedfodd in 2016 (with the original group of older performers) when it won 5th place in the Traditional Folk-Dance Group category and 6th place in the Cultural Showcase. The group was accepted to perform at the 2020 Eistedfodd, which was cancelled due to the Covid pandemic.

Groupe Jeunesse Tizwite are keepers of the flame of Amazigh culture. For almost seventy years they have continued what could have been a dying tradition, encouraging and developing the creative talents of young performers, providing entertainment and a connection to their roots to generations of Moroccans in countryside and city alike. The current group is the youngest yet, and its mission is to show that the old traditions are as relevant to the young as they are to their parents, providing community cohesion and grounding for a people in a developing country undergoing rapid change.

Country representing: Morocco

Have you been to the Llangollen Eisteddfod before?       YES 2016

Where and how often do you rehearse?  Weekly, in the cultural centre in Kelaat M’Gouna, in the south of Marrakech, surrounded by the rose fields for which Kelaat is so famous.

Do you have any interesting stories about your group?  We have performed all over the world, from Chile to China.

How would you best describe your group?  On a mission to preserve the traditions and culture of the indigenous Amazighs (Berbers) of Morocco, the dancers weave intricate patterns faster and faster across the stage, mimicking the movements of bees in the hive.



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