In Africa, dance serves a complex diversity of purposes. Each performance usually reflect the communal values and social relationships of the people.
Unlike all dance traditions of the world, the polycentric nature of African dance sets it apart from all other dances. This implies that a dancer’s body is not considered to be one single unit but instead, is divided into several segmented areas which are able to respond to the different rhythms within the music.
Furthermore, African dances reflect life, life’s fleeting nature and its diversity. These dances are of different types and they reflect the ways of life of Africans. Below are the types of African dances:
In addition, this dancing style is credited to have originated from the Foh and Ewe people, and is also widely known as Atamga. Warrior dances are a depiction of the men who fought in the battle, so the dance involves warfare movements like “stabbing moves”.
The coming of age dance is considered to be one of the most important ritual among the African tribes.
This type of dance is performed as an act of initiation into adulthood. This dance is performed specifically by the young dancers who practice in seclusion for months before they get to perform in front of the community.
It is seen as a means to boost the confidence of the young men and women and also a means to welcome them into the new phase of life.
Also, welcome dances are performed to greet and pay due respects to a visitor. It is also one of the ways to showcase the talent and potential of the tribe to the visitor. The Yabara performed in West Africa is an example of this dance type. It involves throwing the shekere to different heights in the air and it is mostly performed by women.
Following the dances mentioned above, the name says it all, the dance is a depiction of love and is performed on occasions celebrating unison and love. Being celebratory in nature, the performances are reserved for weddings, anniversaries and tribal rituals. In Ghana, women perform the Nmane to honor the bride on the day of the wedding.
Dance of Possession and Summoning
Summoning and possession are the most common and popular forms of African folk dance. Most of the indigenous tribes perform this dance for “calling a spirit.” These “spirits” are worshiped by many tribes. Some tribes also perform this dance type during the time of war or a drought in the belief that this will bring them good fortune.