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Posted by on Nov 26, 2012 in Cultural | 0 comments

The History of African Dance and Music

African dance types are distinct from each other because of the diversity, of the nomadic groups and the indigenous tribes, that practice them.

African dance and music has traditionally played an important role in the culture from the tribes. Much more than entertainment,

History of African Dance

History of African Dance

dances communicate emotions, celebrate rites of passage, and help strengthen the bonds between people in the tribe as a whole.

African dance types are dissimilar to each other because of the diversity, from the nomadic groups and the indigenous tribes, that practice them. The African dances symbolize social structure and traditional values of those related to them. These dance types assist the African people to praise, criticize as well as work with each other. The various dances heavily trust the African music, which is a quite interesting form of music, despite the fact that in many African tribal languages, there isn’t any particular word for ‘music’.

Musical History

Historically, many societies within the sub-Saharan interacted with one another and consequently a mix of musical resources was formed. explains the mix of these cultures formed a unique musical area along the Guinea Coast which includes the savanna belt of West Africa. You will find distinctions between other areas of the continent too. East Africa differs from Central Africa due to their use of specific forms of instruments. Southern Africa’s traditions include choral groups and musical bow instruments.

Music Styles

The varied cultures in Africa have their own distinct style of music. Based on, the music of Africa is “maintained by oral tradition” and singing like a form of communication is emphasized. Today, Western culture has had a sizable impact on African musical styles. Though traditional African music continues to be practiced, new styles of music combining Western and African styles are actually emerging.


The history and traditions of African dance and movement focus on communication. According to, African dance is really a way of life for the inhabitants of the culture. Dance is used to represent the experiences of life; a method to heal sick individuals; a mode of prayer towards the gods encouraging the growth of crops; along with a way to tell the stories and spread the traditions of the African culture.


Because of precolonial migration, wars and cross-cultural interaction between various tribes in Africa, the music involved with African dance borrows influences from over the continent. Rattles, xylophones, flutes and trumpets are important types of instruments in African dance. Additionally, a number of drums and stringed instruments may play a role. Instruments for different dances are chosen based the dramatic possibilities they provide, as well as their symbolic importance and melodic capabilities.


History of African Dance and Music

History of African Dance and Music

Dance is an integral part of African culture because movement plays this type of vital role in communication. Some historical types of dance, such as the Adzohu style, were essential in preparation for war, while some, like the Agbekor style, played a job at social gatherings and funerals. African dances for example Anyako Atsia, Togo Atsia, NanDom Bawa, Gahu, Tokoe, Takada and Gadzo have roots in religious ceremonies of history, but are primarily used at social gatherings as methods to express one’s self and to interact. Many religious and ritual dance styles remain, however, like the Agovu, Sovu, Sogba and Afa.

Body Movement

Many gestures of African dance hold symbolic significance. Dance employs miming, and also the movements may be either complex or quite simple. Some dances might mimic battle tactics, with dancers imitating combat moves, attack movements and reconnaissance missions. Other dances may mimic the day-to-day lifetime of the dancer, with movements inspired by domestic chores. African dance is renowned for utilizing all parts of the body, and fluidity of motion is an important characteristic.

Ceremonial Dance

Ceremonial dance is an integral part of Africa’s history. According to, the value of dance has encompassed every aspect of African life throughout time. Ceremonies that contain symbolic dance include transition from childhood to adulthood, alterations in status within the community and social changes for example marriage.

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