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West African Dance

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You may have heard of different types of dances but did you ever hear of the West African dance form? If you haven’t then we will tell you about, if you have then you will learn more about it. African dance refers mainly to the dance of Sub Saharan Africa, and more appropriately African dances because of the many cultural differences in musical and movement styles. These dances must be viewed in close connection with Sub Saharan African music traditions and Bantu cultivation of rhythm.

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African dance utilizes the concept of polyrhythm as well as total body articulation yet many African languages have no word to define music. West African dance originated in the region known as West Africa which consist 18 countries. Dancing in West Africa communicate many different things such as feelings, attitudes, concepts and stories. The people of West Africa dance for anything and everything. Dance has always played a very important role in the lives of Africans.

Throughout history, West African dances have been influenced by and performed for everything including celebrating a birth, harvest or death. Traditional dances often do not appear in isolation but are parts of broader cultural activities such as Warrior Dances, Dances of Love, Rites of Passage and Coming of Age Dances, Dances of Welcome, Dances of Possession and Summoning. A Warrior Dance is a dance that takes place on occasion such as cultural events and funeral.

Dance movements mimic battlefield tactics such stabbing with the end of the horsetail. This dance consists of phrases of movements. A phrase consists of a “turn” which occurs in every phrase and then a different ending movement. These phrases are added back to back with slight variations within them, make up the dance. Dances of Love are performed on special accessions, such as weddings and anniversaries. Rites of Passage and Coming of Age is a dance performed to mark the coming of age of young men and women.

It is then formally acknowledged they are adults. This builds pride, as well as a stronger sense of community. A Dance of Welcome is a way to show of respect and pleasure to visitors, as well as a show of how talented & attractive the host villagers are. Dances of Possession and Summoning are common themes, and very important in many Traditional African Religions. They all share one common link: a call to a Spirit. These spirits can be the spirits of Plants or Forests, Ancestors, or Deities.

Cite this West African Dance

West African Dance. (2016, Dec 16). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/west-african-dance/

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