African Dance Examples

African Dance Examples

African Dance Examples


Different parts of the body are emphasized by different groups. The upper body is emphasized by the Anlo-Ewe and Lobi of Ghana. Subtle accent of the hips is characteristic of the Kalabari of Nigeria. In Agbor, strong contraction-release movements of the pelvis and upper torso characterize both male and female dancing. The Akan of Ghana use the feet and hands in specific ways.

African Contemporary Dance From Nigeria


The stamping dance known as Ndlamu is done by the Nguni group of tribes, each in their own fashion. It is a secular dance performed by young men in single or double line. Different tempos, manners of stamping the ground, ending the dance, and ways of holding their dance sticks are used by each tribe: the Itlangwini from Southern Natal; the Baca from the Eastern Cape Province; the Mpondo and Mpondomisi from further south; and perhaps best known, the Zulu.

Adumu is a Maasai dance which is performed during Eunoto, the coming-of-age ceremony of warriors. This dance, also referred to as aigus, or “the jumping dance” by non-Maasai (both adumu and aigus are Maa verbs meaning “to jump” with adumu meaning “To jump up and down in a dance”) has made Maasai warriors known for this competitive jumping, which is frequently photographed.

A circle is formed by the warriors, and one or two at a time will enter the center to begin jumping while maintaining a narrow posture, never letting their heels touch the ground. Members of the group may raise the pitch of their voices based on the height of the jump.

Kpanlogo comes from Ghana, more specifically the Ga ethnic group. This dance started in the capital city of Accra, but now it is enjoyed throughout the country. Kpanlogo is known as a highlife dance form performed to conga-like drums.

The music of Kpanlogo is especially important. E.T. Mensah is considered the king of dance band highlife, and played in many bands and locations. Kpanlogo is a fairly recent dance and started around 1940 after World War II, which is when the dance band highlife scene picked up recognition.

Odette Blum talks about the movements. There is a free-flowing motion to this dance, with arms swinging around. There is no stillness in this dance, the free-flowing motion, of a move either beginning or ending, fills pauses. The torso acts as the stronghold base of this dance, since the center of gravity shifts rapidly from one foot to the other.

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