Dance in Africa is considered as a holistic part of the community. It is not separated or abbreviated as a unit of and in itself. Dance in Africa is utilized in facilitating many occurrences in many African societies. The African dance includes many distinctions with regards to the diverse ethnicities that live on the continent, and the various movement and musical styles which are connected to them. Each dance has its distinct movement and method which is used as a reflection of the culture of a specific ethnicity or group. Many African dances are communicative, and as such, this likeness is unmistakable in many dancing approaches on the African content. Most of the dance styles recognize the many ethnic factions and cultural variations. Most African dances are participatory, whereby the spectators are considered as part of the show. Without including some initiation, religious and spiritual dances, most African dances do not include obstacles between onlookers and dancers. There are ritual dances where the participation of spectators is at times acknowledged. Even though the African continent is made of different ethnicities, the diverse cultures embrace the various dance styles into their technique of dance movements.
The dance of the Yoruba is one of the most popular dances of the Yoruba people who live in Nigeria. The Yoruba people dance with an objective of pleasing their deities. The Bata dance which is presented by the Yoruba people living in the southwestern part of Nigeria is considered as a common dance style. The Bata dance is performed to the Sango deity, which is regarded as the blistering god of thunder. During the old times, the dance was considered to be a divine way of communication between the deity and worshippers. Today, Bata dancers present their dance customs at religious and secular occasions. The traditional dance includes three Bata drums; the onkolo, the itoele, and the iya. The dance consists of secular and sacred traditional dances, social leisure, prestige dances, and power. The ritual dances performed by the Yoruba highlights celebrations for the old age creation deity known as Obatala which represents moral integrity, peace, and patience. The Yoruba dance further represents the deity of the warrior king of lightning and thunder who is found in Ede village and is regarded as the embodiment of justice, retribution, and truth. In the social sphere, the Yoruba dance is performed during boat regatta and New Year’s celebration as well as marriage rituals.
Morocco has diverse traditional musical styles and dances that are founded on the Berber, African and Arab traditions. The Moroccan dance is a reflection of the numerous cultural ethnicities and settings that have been established in the country. As a result, the Moroccan dance differs from one location to another. The belly dance, also known as the shikat is a Moroccan dance where proficient dancers wear colorful attire with midriff, tight tops and loose pants. Human hip movements exemplify the dance, and usually, the dancers wear hip scarfs with an objective of catching the concentration of body movements in the lower part of the body. The Guedra is another contemporary, traditional dance in Morocco. The dance only allows women to take part in it where they are allowed to put on festival head garments and blue robes which are loose and are usually embellished with cowrie shells. The performance involves kneeling in a circle where the dancers clap and sing. One of the dancers then moves to the center where she performs a solo dance. The dance soloist begins her dance while covering herself in a veil that is later eliminated as she runs her shoulders and hands. During the Guedra dance, much of the solo dance is presented while kneeling since the dancers may decide to stand up during the entire dance. The dance is ended when the solo dancer chooses to throw the veil off and later falls on her back.
The Asante is regarded as the most prevalent and commonly performed dance in Ghana. The Asante is exemplified by traditional concepts of the musical traditions and is a dance that is performed by women. The Asante were traditionally recognized for their excellent dancing techniques. The only few men who participate in this dance usually handle different musical instruments. The Asante dance is generally performed during separate occasions including funerals even though the dancers also play it during significant events including visits by dignitaries as well as other festivities.
Dance in Africa is a tool that can be utilized to bring individuals together and can further assist in connecting communities more easily since most of them share some common aspects. These dances have some elements that can easily be identified with although they come from diverse settings and backgrounds. Therefore, dancing in Africa shows that people do not inherently have to come from similar geographical backgrounds or speak the same language because other tools like dance are a useful medium where they can eliminate all barricades and promote a feeling of unity thus ensuring that they share a collective mentality or attitude.
Jonas, G. (1992). Dancing: The pleasure, power, and art of movement. New York: Harry N. Abrams. Inc., Publishers.
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