How many african dances are there

African dance | History, Styles, Culture, & Facts

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African dance, performing art deeply woven into the social fabric of Africa and generally involving aspects of music and theatre as well as rhythmic bodily movement. See also African music and mask.

The cultural position of dance

In African societies, dance serves a complex diversity of social purposes. Within an indigenous dance tradition, each performance usually has a principal as well as a number of subsidiary purposes, which may express or reflect the communal values and social relationships of the people. In order to distinguish between the variety of dance styles, therefore, it is necessary to establish the purpose for which each dance is performed.

Often there is no clear distinction between ritual celebration and social recreation in dance performances; one purpose can merge into the other, as in the appearance of the great Efe mask at the height of the Gelede ritual festival in the Ketu-Yoruba villages of Nigeria and Benin. At midnight the mask dramatically appears to the expectant community, its wearer uttering potent incantations to placate witches. The dancer then moves into a powerful stamping dance in honour of the great Earth Mother and the women elders of the community. The dance continues as the performer pauses to sing the praises of people of rank, carefully observing their order of seniority. In this way a ritual act becomes a social statement, which then flows into recreation as the formal dancing by the Gelede team gives way to free participation by spectators until sunrise. The great Efe holds a central position, entertaining his audience with tales that make comic and satiric reference to irregular behaviour within the community over the past year.

The more significant the concept expressed in a dance, the greater the appreciation of the audience and the more insistent their demands for a skillful performance and for movements that fit its purpose. Dance is appreciated as a social occasion but is simultaneously enjoyed as an activity in its own right, entertaining and giving pleasure as an expression of communal life.

Thought systems traditional to African cultures are rooted in a world view in which there is continuous interaction between spiritual forces and the community. Spiritual beings may inhabit natural elements or animals and may also take possession of human mediums. This possession of persons is usually temporary and confined to ritual, as when the priest of the Yoruba god Shango dances into a state of deep trance at the annual festival, expressing the wrath of the god of thunder with the lightning speed of his arm gestures and the powerful roll of his shoulders. In Zimbabwe the Mhondora spirit mediums, who relate the Shona people to the guardian spirits of the dead, enter a trance through the music of the mbira lamellaphone, to which they sing while performing simple, repetitive foot patterns. Thus, the dances of priests and mediums confirm their ritual leadership.

Dance is used as therapy by ritual societies in many cultures. Hausa women, for example, find healing through dance and spirit possession in the Bori cult. Among the Jukun of Nigeria, a similar organization is called the Ajun, whose elders deal with hysterical disorders in women by exorcising evil spirits in initiation ceremonies. During a three-month period in a house shrine, the sufferer is taught songs and dances that have a therapeutic function culminating in a ceremony in which the initiate publicly joins the members of the society to perform the Ajun-Kpa dance. The female spirit mediums of the Kalabari in the Niger delta, using dance and song as an essential part of their therapy, are also credited with powers of healing.

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Many African religions are based on a bond of continuity between the living and their dead ancestors, who, in some cultures, return as masquerade performers to guide and judge the living. The complex web of human relationships is continuously renewed and restated at ritual festivals through the arts.

A List of Some Traditional Dances From Different African Countries — Bino and Fino

Cultural dances play a huge role in African societies. These dance forms are used to teach moral values, social etiquette and to help people mature and celebrate members of the community while celebrating festivals and other occasions.

African dances are largely participatory and every ritual dance often have a time when spectators must participate. 

Here are a couple of examples of some amazing traditional dances from different countries in Africa.

Indlamu  (South Africa) 

A dance that is mostly associated with Zulu culture. It is derived from the Zulu warrior class of ancient times. It is carried out by men in full regalia; traditional head pieces, ceremonial belts, shields and spears. 

Exciting traditional female and male Zulu Dancing. Filmed by Tekweni TV Productions, a television production company based in Durban South Africa. 0027 31 2611034.


A very popular f©orm of dance that started from the highlife scene in the capital city of Accra but is now enjoyed throughout the country. 

Moribayasa (Guinea)

From the Malinke people in Guinea, this dance is done by women who have overcome  great adversity. The woman starts the dance wearing old ragged clothes. Accompanied by musicians she circles the village several times, singing and dancing. The women of the village follow her and sing too. The woman then changes her clothes and buries her old clothes in a special area.  

Eskista (Ethiopia)

Eskista is a traditional Ethiopian dance performed by both men and women. The dance focuses on rolling the shoulder blades, bouncing the shoulders, and contracting the chest. It is one of the most complex traditional dance forms in Ethiopia  due to its technical nature. 

Azezo - young girls dancing 'Eskista' at center of Azezo (infront of taxi staging area)

Atilogwu ( Nigeria) 

Also known as the 'Acrobatic Dance' of Eastern Nigeria. The leaps, turns, jumps and intricate footwork of the dancers is certainly a sight to behold. The dance is usually performed at key events & ceremonies.

opular dance troupe from eastern nigeria

Aduma (Kenya)

This is one of the most famous traditional dances of the Massa performed during Eunoto, the coming of age ceremony of warriors. It is also know as the '"jumping dance"  with each of the young warriors trying to jump higher then the previous one.  Members of the group may raise the pitch of their voices based on how high one jumps. 

This is the Maasai warrior doing the jump around dance. This dance is how they find a mate, the highest jumper gets the gals.

Pat Pat (Senegal)

The Pat Pat dance is the traditional dance practiced by the Jola people of Senegal. It involves rhythmically patting the body and fast leg movements.

This video shows traditional Jola body patting and dances by girls from Mlomp, Casamance region, Southern Senegal. It was recorded at The Akonting Center for Senegambian folkmusic, Mandinari, Gambia July 2006

San Dancing (Botswana)

The San tribe of Botswana are one of the oldest tribes in Africa. The San style of dancing is one that involves fast movement, singing and complexities of rhythms that can be found in many of the dances of the Africa diaspora.

Uploaded by TheCheetahWatch on 2013-06-11.

Ewegh ( Niger)

The Ewegh dance is a dance form performed by the nomadic Tuareg tribe of North Africa. The Ewegh is strong dance performed by men in groups during festivals and ceremonial events.

The Ghadames Cultural Festival is held in Libya in October each year. On the last afternoon everyone went to the dunes to watch the sunset. The Tuareg put on a dancing display. (Sorry it finishes abruptly - my camera is limited to 3 minutes.)

African CultureAdamu WaziriAfrican tradtional dances, African dance


African dances: what are they? | The world around us

The only division that can exist is gender: there are dances that are danced by women, there are strictly masculine ones. Men often use purely "male objects" - sticks, weapons, in the dance there are elements of boxing (meringue). In Burundi and Rwanda there is a Bouder dance, which is performed by men in a circle, while the leader has cow tails in his hands. nine0003

Children necessarily emphasize their gender role: I am a man or I am a woman. No special children's game dances, everyone here is an adult. Let the future, but now everything is "not childish." Girls in some communities are specially trained in their dances, it is important for boys to show their endurance and courage.

Men jump a lot. These are imitative movements of animals, and a certain dance pattern. Masai generally only jump and nothing else. But you can immediately see - who jumps higher, that means he dances better. By the way, almost the only people in Africa who do not use drums. nine0003

Women have a huge number of movements, most of them on half-bent legs (but not the same as demi plie in ballet), the body is slightly inclined. Twisting, shaking the lower body is a special female art. The overwhelming theme is purely feminine (with a stupa, for example), but there are also dances with knives.

In African dances the body speaks and articulates. And he articulates in a complex, polyrhythmic way. Limbs, shoulders, head, chest, hips can perform different movements at the same time. Even without moving in space, the body of the dancer can perform many complex movements in separate parts. And if we add here frequent rhythmic oscillations back and forth, then we get a whole complex-dance in one place. nine0003

There are many variations of African dances. All of them are divided into "sections" according to their subject.

Warrior dances . They are called differently (for example, Mokorotlo in Lesotho), but they dance quite similarly, which is not surprising. The most famous dance is Agbekor (in ancient times it was called Atamga - "high oath"). Traditionally danced in West Africa, popular with the Ewe people (Ghana, Benin). In this dance, the imitative part of the military "tactical" movements is high. nine0003

Another famous dance - Ngolo - "dance of zebras" (Angola, Mozambique). Initially, as a duel between the Mazingas and Cambindas tribes, where the winner received the girl he liked as a prize without a ransom. And the wrestling dance Ngolo, "moving" with the slaves to Brazil, became the basis of the world-famous Capoeira wrestling dance.

Hunter dances. African dances are often reminiscent of the main form of human activity - hunting: both the movements themselves and animal masks. Here and Mdomnag (Chad), Lingun (Benin), Ndlamu (South Africa). Dancers in animal skins (leopard, monkey), in bird feathers depict the most exciting moments of the hunt. And from the side of the animals too ... nine0003

Harvest dance. The ritual character of African dances has been the most important since ancient times. An appeal to the gods, a request for a good harvest and plenty of water, which is important, since we are talking about the dances of those countries that are not far from the Sahara (beyond the Sahara). The theme of fertility is the oldest and most important for mankind.

Dances of love . They are performed on certain occasions: for example, by women at a wedding in honor of the bride. nine0003

Ritual dances of initiation. Recognition of adulthood by the community and pride by youth is the main point of this action. Surprisingly, these dances have been preserved in most countries.

Greeting dance in honor of a dear guest. Emphasizes respect for the guest and the pleasure of his presence. The dance tells about how wonderfully talented and beautiful the owners themselves are too. nine0003

Dancing - evocation of spirits - traditional in many parts of Central and West Africa. Spirits - orisha - are the emanations of the single god, the creator god Olodumare. These are very serious and important spirits that "regulate" almost all human life. The cult of the orisha is widespread, including in Cuba and Brazil. Kakilambe is a dance named after a powerful forest orisha. The spirit is called to dance, and it appears in the form of a large dancing statue (straw-wooden-rag) and in a mask. nine0003

In addition to invoking spirits, dancing can also drive out spirits (such is Mganda, mapiko in Mozambique).

A special place is occupied by Healing Dances (or Healing or Healing Dances). According to the description of eyewitnesses, these dances could not only bring a person out of a difficult psychological state associated, say, with the death of a loved one, but also really treat, for example, epilepsy. There is, of course, little scientific evidence here. In any case, what is good within the same culture and beliefs is not accidental and can work there. But it is unlikely to work for a person of a different culture. nine0003

In all these groups of dances, except for Kakilambe, the most famous dances are Ndlamu, Ambasse Bey (Ambasse bey or ambas-i-bay) and Bukutsi from Cameroon, Kwassa-Kwassa from Congo, Yankadi from Guinea, Lingun (Benin), Kupe Dekale (Coupé-Décalé - Ivory Coast and already Paris for a long time) and many others.

Interest in African dances in our time is not accidental. They are little studied, although their influence on modern dance culture is undeniable. And they are impressive, eye-catching. Whoever we consider ourselves to be and whatever theories about our origin we believe in, the “wild” bewitching magic of these dances leaves few people indifferent. nine0003

(You can see examples of African dances in the comments).

Tags: Africa, people, customs, traditions, dancing, folk dances

Dance direction Afro (African dances). 🕺Dance studio - Under Stand (Anderstend)💃 in Voronezh. Dance school for children and adults. nine0001

Katya Tarakanova |13+|

Monday, Wednesday:
19:05 - 20:05
13:00 - 14:00

Katya Tarakanova |13+| Closed group

Monday: 20:45 - 21:45
Saturday: 19:05 - 21:05

  • technique
  • basics of style
  • culture immersion
  • learning staged choreography
  • filming dance videos
  • the development of the physical form of the dancer

"Afro" - short for "African dances". There is no such thing as "Afro" because African dances include many styles. Literally every African country has its own style, or even several.

All directions of afro have a communicative connotation. These styles are about communication, and sometimes about tomfoolery, and smiles. Despite the fact that the afro has a technically difficult base, it is a dance of fun and pleasure.

The main styles that are actively studied in the classroom are:

Originally from the Congo. This direction of music and dance has influenced all of Africa and many other African dance styles. The basis of the ndombolo style is the work of the hips, their control, combined with simple footwork, handwork and playing music. The formation of the style fell on 1996-2000 Music is still being made authentic. A melodic guitar almost always plays in the background, accompanied by the sound of drums and vocals.

Coupé Decale
Originally from Ivory Coast per. "cheat and run" This is France, Parisian clubs 2000. Ndombolo is just the inspiration for this style. Coupé Decale is quite fast. More active work of the knees is added to the work of the hips. Almost every step has a name and a native (step) track. A distinctive feature in music is "roukaskas" - an overbeat at the end of eights / squares, which you need to be able to beat coolly. nine0003

A style influenced by Angolan kuduro and South African house music. This musical style, in turn, emerged from house, which came from Europe and the United States. In South Africa, they began to add African percussion to it and make the beat heavier, giving it an African sound. Despite the fact that afrohouse is still very young (originates in 2008-2010), it already has its own groove, filling, taps and footwork, which distinguishes it from other styles, including kuduro. nine0003

It's all about swag, have fun and happy
South African music and dance genre related to deep house music. The style was formed around 2014-2016. Popularization went during quarantine.
Over time, the sound became more commercial (2017-2019), more instruments began to be used. The music began to sound heavier and meatier. It is one of the most popular afro styles at the moment. Each of you has 100% seen on the Internet at least a couple of Amapiano movements. nine0003

Ganna style. Rooted in colonial times. Azonto is not only a dance style, but also a lifestyle of people, their communication. Origin 2009-2010 Became popular only in 2011. Basic movements are composed of ordinary life and imitation of people's daily life. In Hann, this style is taught in schools, as it is part of the culture and part of the history.

Modern style from Nigeria. Shaku is a ghetto so the moves can look ridiculous. A lot of footwork, a lot of movement to the floor, knees often point inward. Music - Nigerian beat (one of). Many guys use headscarves, dancing shaka, holding in their hands, making chips.

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