How to do the african dance

What Is African Dance? | Superprof

Sub-Saharan traditional African dances consist of various cultural distinctions in musical and movement forms.

The Sub-Saharan African music traditions and Bantu rhythm-cultivation practices are always considered while studying these dances. Polyrhythm and whole body articulation are used in African dance.

People learn social patterns and values via dance, which they may use to:

  • Praise or condemn members of their society
  • Celebrate holidays and funerals
  • Compete
  • Recite poetry and history
  • Connect to their Gods

It is common for African dances to be participatory, with the audience being an integral part of the show.

Dancers and observers have historically interacted freely, except for a few spiritual or religious dances. When it comes to ceremonial dances, viewers are typically invited to join in at some point.

All African dance genres are firmly rooted in ritual and history, regardless of the tribe or country they originate from.

In most cultures, dancing has a purpose beyond mere amusement. There are many ways in which dance may be used as a kind of prayer, emotional communication, and more.

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What Is The History Of African Dance?

A key part of Africa's cultural history, traditional African dancing represents the region's philosophy and depicts its cultural riches and development through the years. (Source: Unsplash)

The transmission of a tribe's traditional dances is often the exclusive responsibility of a designated authority in many tribes.

The "dancing master" is responsible for ensuring that everyone understands the dances of their tribes without inquiry.

If you're interested in learning African dance, simply type African dance online or African dance classes near me, and you'll find instructors who can teach you.

Many African dances have been performed for hundreds of years without significant changes. This dance must be done exactly as written, with no improvisation.

Here's everything you need to know about the elements and history of African dance:

  1. Dance Rituals

Throughout traditional African life, the spirit permeates every element. For the Shona people of Zimbabwe, the Mbira was a multi-purpose performance that served many purposes, including:

  • Summoning ancestors
  • Begging tribe protectors
  • Calming down droughts and floods
  • Commemorating deaths
  • Installing a new chief
  1. Ceremonial Dance

The ceremonial dance is often done to welcome guests, commemorate milestones, mark the end of a successful hunt, or any other occasion shared by the whole community.

During this traditional dance, young males of the tribe take turns leaping as high as they can to demonstrate their physical prowess and stamina.

  1. Enduring Characteristics

They are rhythmic dances with a refined and sensual feel to them. It's a full-body workout, concentrating on angular and asymmetrical techniques and intricate isolations.

The everyday rhythms of caring for crops and animals are embodied in the dancers' shuffling, scuffing, stomping, and hopping.

Polyrhythm is especially well-suited to African dances, which often use two or more rhythms at once, corresponding articulations in the torso, arms, legs, and head.

  1. Slavery And Adaptation

Whole communities were brought to the Caribbean and mainland plantation areas through the slave trade. The dances of Africa were heavily impacted by the many cultures and ethnicities of the Caribbean.

During the 18th century, colonial French, Dutch, British, or Spanish influences would have had an impact.

Slave dances such as the Calenda and other tribal hybrids remained vital cultural touchstones.

There were two parallel lines in the Calenda, one for women and the other for males.

It had a pattern of approach and departure that began without touching and then accelerated when thigh-slapping, kissing, etc. , was added to the equation.

  1. Modern Development

An explosion of skill and invention occurred in dance throughout the twentieth century thanks to African dance.

The anthropology of Caribbean dance and its African origins were studied by Katherine Dunham, whose work spanned the twentieth century.

Under the umbrella of contemporary dance styles, Katherine Dunham created training methods that are still utilized by dancers today.

  1. Taking It To The Streets

Many African-inspired dances that evolved from the slave experience are not as true to their origins as street dances like breaking, hip-hop, tutting, locking, popping, and crumping.

Rap, the griots' rhythmic spoken-word storytelling style, sparked the emergence of hip-hop dancing.

There are a lot of exaggerated isolations in this style, with several body movements in reaction to the rhythm.

On the other hand, hip-hop connects the street with the stage since it has been a fixture in musicals from Beyoncé to Broadway.

People also use African dance workouts to stay fit, and many people join African dance classes for adults to immerse themselves in the culture.

In African civilization, dance has long been an integral part of life, bringing people together and allowing them to understand their duties in the community better. Search Superprof for African dance classes for adults. (Source: Unsplash)

What Are The Top 10 Popular African Traditional Dances?

To better comprehend African culture and heritage, we need to learn about the dance styles of each African country and its original customs.

In African culture, dancing is a fundamental component of life.

Some types of West African dance are:

  • Agbadza dance, which started in Ghana
  • Adumu dance, which originated in Kenya

Besides being a kind of entertainment, dancing is a way of expressing one's ideas, emotions, and other intangible qualities. It's the chorographical presentation of these messages that makes them stand out.

Listed below are the most popular African traditional dances, their origins, and the categories they belong to.

  1. Agbadza Dance

Music and dance from the Ewe tribe of Ghana are known as Agbadza. As a battle dance known as Atrikpui, this dancing step has been transformed into a ceremonial or celebratory dance.

The Anlo Ewe people's Hogbetsotso festival is the primary stage for this dance.

Interestingly, this old dance form has five basic motions and is often accompanied by musical instruments such as the Gankogui, Sogo, Kagan, and Atoke.

  1. Adumu Dance

The Maasai tribe of Tanzania and Kenya performs the Adamu dance, a traditional dancing style that incorporates hopping. It is second on our list of the most popular African traditional dances.

More than just an initiation rite, this dance step is frequently performed by physically fit men (usually young warriors) on special occasions.

Likewise, the dancers' hop leaps aren't just for show; they reflect the warriors' agility, strength, and endurance. They're a vital part of the performance.

  1. Indlamu Dance

The Zulu people of South Africa's Zulu tribe also perform the Indlamu dance. This warrior dance is a prominent African traditional dance style that warriors often perform.

Besides the fact that it necessitates a great deal of physical exertion, it also conveys a sense of dominance, self-control, and physical prowess.

This ceremonial dance is frequently performed at weddings, during wartime preparations, and harvest.

  1. Lamban Dance

Lamban dancing is a centuries-old African custom that uses storytelling to impart knowledge to children in an engaging manner.

However, Mali's traditional lamban dance is typically done by a single person or a small ensemble.

Lumba dancing is also thought to summon spirits to help the storyteller present the narrative to the best of their abilities.

  1. Moribayasa Dance

For a long time, the African diaspora has struggled with many issues, such as extreme poverty, malnutrition, and disease. The Moribayasa dance, performed by the Guineans, has its roots here.

Performing this dance to commemorate a woman's triumph over adversity might be referred to as a victory or celebration dance.

The first time it was done was in a Guinean village after a long period of starvation, and the ladies danced around the village.

The head of the dancing crew must wear damaged clothes, which will be buried after the dance. This is part of the ritual.

  1. Ikpirikpi Ogu Dance

Abia State, in Nigeria's eastern region, is where this battle dance began. Males in good physical shape do this ancient dance while wearing battle garb.

Ikpirikpi Ogu is a ceremonial dance that honors the sacrifices made by soldiers during times of conflict.

This historic ritual continues to be practiced, although it is now used to celebrate success after a student has graduated.

  1. Mbira Dance

Many African cultures have a strong belief in the existence of supernatural creatures, often known as spirits. They have a variety of methods they use to summon these ghosts.

Ancestral spirits can be summoned through dancing, according to the Shona tribe in Zimbabwe.

As a result, the Shona people of Zimbabwe conduct this well-known traditional African dance during the dance rituals to summon the ancestral spirit.

The religious leader starts to pray for rain and safety for the population once this dance has been done.

  1. Atilogwu Dance

Outside of Nigeria, the term "Acrobatic Dance" has been used to describe this traditional African dance. It is a traditional Nigerian dance that requires some tricky acrobatics.

Rhythms and Igbo traditional musical instruments are often used to accompany Atilogwu.

Because of the intense bodily movement and acrobatic performance required, physically fit males often perform this ceremonial dance.

  1. Makua Dance

The Nyamwezi tribe of Tanzania uses the Makua dance as a welcoming ritual for guests entering their village.

It's common for this dance to be done by both men and women to show the community's welcoming of a newcomer.

The essential aspect of this dance is that it has become one of Tanzania's most popular tourist attractions. Doing this helps maintain the Tanzanian culture and keeps visitors amused and engaged.

  1. San Dance

The San people of Botswana are among the oldest African tribes, and their dance technique directly results from this.

Many popular African dance moves, such as those performed by the San people, call for quick movement and intricate rhythms.

Aside from amusement, this dance is often utilized to achieve altered states of consciousness and treat the ill.

In this situation, it is thought that dancing not only heals the ill but also helps repair the bad characteristics of the community as a whole.

What Are Popular African Dance Styles, And Which Tribes Do They Belong To?

#Dance StylesPurposeTribe of Origin
1AgwaraCourtshipUganda / Alur
2AkogoCourtshipUganda / Iteso
5Kwassa kwassaCelebrationCongo (DRC)
8Coupé-DécaléCelebrationCôte d'Ivoire
10EkitaguriroCelebrationBanyankole Uganda
11EkizinoCourtshipBakiga Uganda
12Ding DingCelebrationAcholi Uganda
14SunuWeddingGuinea, Mandinka
15UkusinaRite of passageSouth Africa
African dance has a vital role in African culture, exhibiting dynamism and a delicate elegance that flows with the beat of the dance. (Source: Unsplash)

Want To Master Your African Dancing Skills With Superprof?

The term "African dance" describes various dance forms from Sub-Saharan Africa. Many traditional African communities include music and dance as essential elements.

Songs and dances are used for

  • Oral history and other recitations
  • Educating and promoting societal ideals
  • Commemorating important occasions and significant life milestones
  • Facilitating spiritual experiences

Most African dance genres include extensive interaction between dancers and spectators and are performed collectively in big groups.

If you want to learn African dance and learn more about the forms of African dance, Superprof is the best place to visit.

The experienced dance tutors at Superprof will help you master different forms of African dance in no time.

The role of dance in African culture

As an African, dance is as much a part of my life as eating, drinking and working, but it is also an important part of our worship, following the guidance of the Bible where it is frequently referenced, particularly in the Old Testament. There dance is a form of worship — as a recognition of love and praise of God. It, along with other spiritual exercises, were believed to be accepted by God as satisfactory veneration.

We can see this in a few Scripture passages: Ecclesiastes 3:4 alludes to "An opportunity to sob and a chance to chuckle, a chance to grieve and a chance to dance. " Jeremiah 31:13 explains, "At that point, their young ladies will dance and be happy, youngsters and old also. I will transform their grieving into dancing." Exodus 15:20-21 relates, "At that point Miriam the prophet, Aaron's sister, took a timbrel in her grasp, and every one of the ladies followed her, with timbrels and dancing." The psalms too allude to the joy of dancing before God: Psalm 149:3 says, "Let them acclaim his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp" and "David lauded the Lord through dancing."

Dance in Africa expresses similar feelings, not only of worship but also of social communication: supplication, passionate relational feelings and even transitional life stages, as persons move from one stage of maturity to another. It also communicates virtues, values and even teachings about social manners that are used to help individuals mature and celebrate.

There are general reasons why dance is so important. It is an experience that moves us beyond the material to the intangible, simply a way we can express ourselves when words are deficient. We can feel the delight of a newly discovered love, assurance in the midst of incredible distress or difficulty, the energetic fire of our childhood, and the serenity of our milder and gentler years.

In Africa what we call cultural or social dance are movements that embody our cultural values and standards. Each cultural dance has a story that reflects certain values or beliefs and thus goes beyond merely learning different types of moves. The movements in a dance, taken together, tell a story that is a way for one culture to share or tell their way of life to another.

To assure the accuracy of the movements that will preserve the integrity of culture, each clan in Nigeria has someone devoted to design and pass along the clan's customary moves. Because there are unique moves in each clan's culture, this "dance ace" guarantees that everybody knows what the moves are and how they are to be danced. These instructions are passed down through generations and some have never been adjusted.

Music and dance are such a regular part of daily existence in Africa because music communicates feeling, expresses soul-changing experiences, and even assists in bringing together networks of people who share common values and life experiences — all important values. Dance can build a sense of security and accomplishment and offer opportunities as icebreakers in meeting new people and making new friends.

African dances are usually participatory and each country has many unique styles. Some are really amazing. To name a few: Indlamu from South Africa, related to Zulu culture; Kpanlogo from Ghana; Moribayassa from Guinea; Eskista from Ethiopia; and many others. But, no matter how these dances are specifically conventional, every person who dances them brings her/his unique style and culture into the dance that also mirrors their country and history. It is always exciting to watch the variety of African dance movements and styles.

Besides being an activity for amusement and fun, dance has many health benefits. It reinforces physical and psychological wellness by strengthening balance, posture and flexibility along with assisting with brain development and life moods.

But, there is something very unique about African dance. Although, in general, dance uses a progression of steps and movements to resonate with the speed and beat of a piece of music and coordinates the body in a cadenced manner, most African dances are segregated body movements that can be very hard to organize intellectually.

They are known as polyrhythm and polycentric movements. Emily Willette explains more in "The Africanist Aesthetic in American Dance Forms":

Polyrhythm is the layering of different rhythms over one another and polycentrism is the idea that movement can initiate from any part of the body. These two qualities play together because different parts of the body dance to different instruments that are playing at different rhythms. [Robert] Farris Thompson describes learning polyrhythm and polycentrism, "my hands and my feet were to keep time with the gongs, my hips with the first drum, my back and shoulders with the second." All the elements of the music are displayed clearly in the body and nothing is left out. This method of dancing is another way of incorporating and valuing the entire body and bringing together the music and dancing.

Another way of expressing this is that the artist's body is in some sense separated so that different parts of the body are moving autonomously of each other.

The drum is also a significant part of African dance accompaniment. It very well may be viewed as the heartbeat of a particular clan, expressing its collective state of mind and relating this collective energy with that of the ancestors. Drumming is often accompanied by handclapping or stomping of feet, and is complemented by chanting voices as dancers are moving in disciplined steps.

Unfortunately, dance as a unique aspect of African culture was not so appreciated by the missionaries who came to our countries. After the Second Vatican Council, most African countries began using dance in our liturgies, but now, bishops in some of them are not allowing this important part of our culture and worship. We can only hope that such restrictions will end, recognizing that dance is a biblical action accepted by God as true veneration and love.

African dances: does life itself beat in them? | The world around us

Many travelers, researchers, ethnographers and choreographers describe their feelings from contact with African dances one way or another.

Rhythm, dance, music. Music is more complicated - many African languages ​​do not have a definition for music at all, there is no word itself (or a single word for both dance and music). Although there is music in Africa, in general it is a single art: rhythm, dance, song, pantomime and theatrical performance. Synthesis of everything. Physical emancipation of the body and the unity of souls in a common action. Nothing memorized, the process is important. nine0003

African dances are older than Indian dances and go back thousands of years. And, unlike India, in Africa there were no schools in the strict sense, not to mention the manuscripts describing movements. In a broad sense - of course, the dance was a life school, because everything that needed to be told was transmitted and perceived. We must not forget that many African countries did not have their own written language, all traditions were transmitted orally and visually. And vice versa, since there was no written language, everything that needed to be passed on to descendants was transmitted through dance ... The entire history of the tribe, beliefs, all the most important events - everything was transmitted and depicted using the language of dance. And there are a great many tribes in Africa. nine0003

If in North Africa the influence of Arabic dances is significant, then in Central, West and South Africa, according to the impression, everything has been preserved intact almost since prehistoric times. This is how African dances exist now: both as the oldest, reminiscent of archaism (they are called “ethnic”), and as separate movements that have passed into the cultures of other countries (Latin America, etc.), and already modern, urban, staged. nine0003

For the past half century, interest in African dance has grown exponentially. There is not only ethnographic interest here: and “choreographic” (how many modern dances we know have a close connection with African movements), and even medical. And taking into account the fact that during the performance of these dances there must be an element of some special state (trance), research by psychologists is also necessary. nine0003

Dancing can be seen on the oldest rock paintings (about 8 millennium BC). No wonder: dancing in Africa still plays an important social role. They teach social behavior, they help work. Even if a woman hoes, she moves as if dancing. In the general rhythm of work-dance-life. Plasticity and any physical action are inseparable. The plasticity is both distant and sensual. It seems that a person simply allows his body to move. And it knows how. The body is simply given, surrendered to the dynamic rhythm, and all the rhythms, in turn, are already embedded in the body. As soon as the inviting sound of the drums is heard, the body itself switches to other rhythms - the rhythms of the holiday and dance. nine0003

African dances retell ancient stories about gods and human affairs. And wearable drawings also help the story, solid symbolism. Even colors (red - strength and power, black - fertility) play a great role in understanding the dance. The number of lines is also important, for example, 3 - male symbolism, 2 - female.

Dance in Africa accompanies virtually all events of human life - from birth to death. All holidays and ceremonies with dances, competitions with dances, consolation and treatment also with dances. And funeral ceremonies, too, with special ritual dances. And the birth of children, weddings, ritual holidays - this is a continuous dance that embraces the entire tribe. nine0003

Rhythm dances - an amazing variety. It is also in the colorful costumes, drawings and tattoos, masks. They also dance with objects that are unusual for us. The most familiar variation is the stilted dance.

Dancing is theatrical performance and is now the most popular tradition in the countries of Central and West Africa. Today, not a single festival or carnival in the cities can do without this genre. nine0003

And in the villages they continue to dance the way they used to do it in memorable times. Tam-toms sound. Involuntarily, the whole body begins to move. The rhythm is set by the drums, and it permeates the whole being, because it is the rhythm-heartbeat of the whole community, the pulsation of life itself ...

The study of African dances is just beginning. But it has long been known how, when and why they dance. And more on that in the next part. nine0003

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

Tags: Africa, people, traditions, dancing, history

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.

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