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They Love Each Other and They Love Us (/iʈ ˈɥɨmʉ iʈ ɥɒʎ/)

They Love Each Other and They Love Us (in Stenza iṭ ɥúmǔ iṭ ɥǒy) is an elaborate An'o performed at First Sunrise by two dancers of disparate sizes, typically male and female, although the gender of the dancers is immaterial. The smaller dancer assumes the role of Iradae and the other of Lan'tha, and the dance is broadly a mimicry of the movement of Iradae and Lan'tha across the sky.


Because all Stenza can observe the movements of the suns across the sky, all clans have developed a broadly similar form of this dance, although details may vary considerably. The form given the modern name iṭ ɥúmǔ iṭ ɥǒy is believed to be one of the oldest dances in the Stenza catalogue, if not the oldest, and it is one of the few items that were never subject to the culture debates that opened the period of Stenza unification. Many possibilities have been speculated upon, from the idea that the dance form is too old and too sacred to mess with to the (remarkably pragmatic) theory that even touching that sacred cow would cause the entire delicate system to collapse, landing the Stenza population back at square one. In any event, this particular dance form was left largely untouched (except for very brief references) during and after Unification, and has been allowed to flourish until the Clan Killings, when many clans and their customs came under fire from a single man. Most of the affected clans have recovered enough to resurrect their old forms of this dance and others, while others are lost for good or still in danger.


The dance is performed by a pair of adolescent or adult dancers of disparate sizes (typically they are of disparate genders as well, but this is not always true) who must prepare several weeks in advance, learning the movements and significance of the dance. It is performed across a long rectangular stretch, with the dancers beginning in the corners at one end and advancing down the arena. The defining feature of the dance is the series of moments the two dancers cross paths with each other and circle once around each other to the beat of a Sunrise Drum. The entire dance is a mimicry of the movements of the suns as observed by the Stenza over untold generations.

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The dance is performed to the beat of drums, specifically the Sunrise Drum, and a chant which begins with the line "iṭ ɥúmǔ iṭ ɥǒy" ("They love each other and They love us!"), from which the dance gets its modern name. Though each clan emphasizes different points based on localized folklore and religious praxis, many of the same overall points are highlighted: the rising of the suns, their tendency to eclipse one another, the theme of being beheld again by the gods (from which the dance gets the name "We Are Beheld Again" (Fò-ṣè do̞y) in some regions), and the powerful bond between Iradae and Lan'tha as a couple. Due to the latter theme, it is not unheard of for couples, especially couples who have been together for quite some time, to volunteer to dance in the roles of Iradae and Lan'tha.


The central figures are the two dancers, who may be adolescents or adults, accompanied by drummers and chanters.


The dance is reserved for First Sunrise festivities.
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