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Posted by on Apr 24, 2013 in Cultural | 0 comments

African Dance – Popular Styles and Types of Dance

The Africa we know is famous for its oral tradition, that is the cultural practices are passed down from one generation to another.

African dance mainly refers to the dance forms of ‘Sub Saharan Africa’ and it is performed mainly by different indigenous tribes. Each dance type is distinctly not the same as the other because of cultural variations in melodic and movement styles. Most of the African dance forms exhibit the social pattern prevalent among local tribes. These dance forms depict the life span forms of the community more than that of individuals or couples. Just about all African dances are accompanied by constant rhythmic music that typically includes the continual beating of different types of drums, vocals and stomping of feet. Some of the most popular African dance types include “dances of love”, “warrior dance”, “coming of age dances”, “dances of possession and summoning”, “dances of welcome”, etc. If you’re fascinated by these out of the standard dance forms of Africa, steer with the next segment to learn more about the various African dance types.

African Dance

African Dance

A little bit about African dance

Unlike all dance traditions of the planet, African dance is polycentric/polyrhythmic, which sets it aside from all other dances. This implies that a dancer’s is not considered to be one single unit but rather, is divided into several segmented areas that are able to respond to the different rhythms inside the music. These segmented areas create connected movements which are precise, complex, and relatively hard to master.

In this part of the planet, dancing transcends the ordinary, and it is often seen as an expression of spirituality in religious rituals. It’s a custom strongly associated with important events within the lives of the community as a whole, meaning it is viewed as an opportunity to share togetherness.

Types of African Dance

It’s undoubtedly true, that there exists all kinds of dance styles owing to the different tribes surviving in Africa. However, a majority of options are based on similar principles.

African Dance - Popular Styles and Types of Dance

African Dance – Popular Styles and Types of Dance

Warrior Dances

The dancing style is credited to possess originated from the Foh and Ewe people, and it is widely known as Atamga. Warrior dances really are a depiction of the men who fought within the battle, which is why the dance involves warfare movements. It’s supposedly an aggressive style of dancing and it is characterized by a complex drum rhythm. The dancers stage mock fights using horsetail as spears to stab the opponent. It’s performed specifically at cultural events and also at funerals. The Agbekor dance style is definitely an example of this dance type.

Rite of Passage

‘Coming of age’ is regarded as one of the most important ritual among the African tribes. This type of dance is performed as an act of initiation up. This dance is performed specifically through the young dancers who practice in seclusion for months prior to them getting to perform in front of the community. This dance is really a means to boost the confidence of the teenagers and women and also a means to welcome them in to the new phase of life.

The Maasai people carry out the Adumu dance to celebrate the coming of age of warriors. The dancers need to jump without allowing their heels to the touch ground. Tokoe, on the other hand, is a dance done by selected young women in Ghana. Girls chosen for the dance have to satisfy the required qualification measures, namely remaining a virgin at that time of entering puberty.

Yabara Dance

This is a popular dance form from Nigeria and also the Western African regions. In this dance form, “The Beaded Gourd Rattle” called ‘Shekere’ within the native language, is added too the air to indicate the rhythm changes.

Agbekor Dance

This dance form is conducted with a horse’s tail at the time of funerals. This dance form also offers its origin in Western Africa.

Dance of Welcome

Welcome dances are carried out to greet and pay due respects to some visitor. It is also one of the methods to showcase the talent and potential of the tribe towards the visitor. The Yabara performed in West Africa is definitely an example of this dance type. It calls for throwing the shekere to different heights in mid-air and it is mostly performed by women.

Dance of Love

The name says everything, the dance is a depiction of love and it is performed on occasions celebrating unison and love. Being celebratory anyway, the performances are restricted to weddings, anniversaries and tribal rituals. In Ghana, women carry out the Nmane to honor the bride at the time of the wedding.

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