Traditional Dance In Africa

Traditional Dance In Africa

Traditional Dance In Africa

Traditional dance in Africa occurs collectively, expressing the life of the community more than that of individuals or couples. Early commentators consistently commented on the absence of close couple dancing: such dancing was thought immoral in many traditional African societies.

In all sub-Saharan African dance, there seems to be no evidence for sustained, one-to-one male-female partnering anywhere before the late colonial era when it was apparently considered in distinctly poor taste. For the Yoruba, to give a specific example, touching while dancing is not common except in special circumstances.

Cameroon Dancer

The only partner dance associated with African dances would be the Bottle Dance of the Mankon People in the Northwest Region of Cameroon or the Assiko from the Douala people that involve an interaction of Man and Woman and the way that they charm each other.

Emphasizing individual talent, Yoruba dancers and drummers, bass example, express communal desires, values, and collective creativity. Dances are often segregated by gender, reinforcing gender roles in children and other community structures such as kinship, age and status are also often reinforced. Many dances are performed by only males or females, indicating strong beliefs about what being male or female means and some strict taboos about interaction.

Dances celebrate the passage from childhood to adulthood or spiritual worship. Young girls of the Lunda of Zambia spend months practicing in seclusion for their coming of age ritual. Boys show off their stamina in highly energetic dances, providing a means of judging physical health.

African Dancers
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