African culture 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 . African dance utilizes the concept of as well as total body articulation.
African culture dances teach social patterns and values and help people work, mature, praise or criticize members of the community while celebrating festivals and funerals, competing, reciting history, proverbs and poetry; and to encounter gods. African culture dances are largely participatory, with spectators being part of the performance. With the exception of some spiritual, religious or initiation dances, there are traditionally no barriers between dancers and onlookers. Even ritual dances often have a time when spectators participate.
The most widely used musical instrument in Africa is the human voice.Nomadic groups such as the Maasai do not traditionally use drums yet in villages throughout the continent the sound and rhythm of the drum expresses the mood of the people. In an African community, coming together in response to the beating of the drum is an opportunity to give one another a sense of belonging and of solidarity, a time to connect with each other and be part of a collective rhythm of the life in which young and old, rich and poor, men and women are all invited to contribute to the society. Shoulders, chest, pelvis, arms, legs etc., may move with different rhythms in the music.
African Culture dances play a huge role in African societies examples are; Eskista (Ethiopia) Atilogwu ( Nigeria) Aduma (Kenya) Pat Pat (Senegal) San Dancing (Botswana) Ewegh ( Niger).
Dancers in Nigeria commonly combine at least two rhythms in their movement, and the blending of three rhythms can be seen among highly skilled dancers. Articulation of as many as four distinct rhythms is rare. They may also add rhythmic components independent of those in the music. Very complex movements are possible even though the body does not move through space. Dancers are able to switch back and forth between rhythms without missing movements.
Traditional Zulu dancing is an important part of the Zulu culture. Dancing is usually performed during a traditional Zulu ceremony, and is accompanied by vibrant singing and sometimes the beating of drums. Zulu dancing is something quite spectacular, especially when the men and women are fully dressed in their traditional attire.
History Of African Culture Dance in North America
Africa being the most culturally diverse continent on the planet reflects a wide spectrum of histories, patterns and meanings in dance, even among cultures with similar backgrounds. Throughout the eighteenth century there were several African culture dances that dominated on plantations. These dances included:the Juba,the Chica and the Calenda.
The nineteenth century saw the plantation African culture dances move onto the stage as minstrel shows became popular. During these shows, which were performed by both black and white performers, dances based on African cultural heritage were introduced to large numbers of people.
As the century came to an end, a dance called the Cakewalk was introduced in The Creole Show, a Broadway revue. This African-influenced dance was the first to become popular with white audiences. From 1891 on, there were many African-influenced dances that became popular in the years to follow. African-influenced dance trends through the present include:
The Charleston,Tap Dancing, The Jitterbug,The Twist,Jazz dance,Hip hop and Crunking.
Although Western culture has spread throughout Africa, many of the traditional African culture dances have also spread throughout the world. For example, the KanKouran African culture Dance Company has celebrated West African dance for over twenty years in Washington D.C. Troupes like this help preserve and share the culture and traditions of African dance throughout the world, sharing the joy far beyond the native tribes and keeping the history alive.
Modernization Of African Culture Dance With Music
Music is regarded as a highly essential element in dancing. Diffusion and influence of non-African music in African societies have led to mixed trends in dance culture. After World War II, hybrid forms of dance emerged that integrated traditional African culture dances with European and American dance influences. Highlife for instance, a style of urban recreational dance popular in West Africa in the 1950s was the most famous of these forms. It originated inGhana , where musicians adopted Western dance-band instruments at open-air nightclubs to celebrate the exuberant spirit of independence.
Francophone countries elaborated the Latin American rhythms of the cha-cha. These have given way to styles influenced by Caribbean reggae and Western pop music, although they retain a distinctly African character.
Another angle is the growth of Afro-beat or Afro-HipHop within most West, East and Southern African countries. This has led to the creation of new dance styles that are African but have a stint of Western flavor. Popular Music groups such as P-Square of Nigeria are well known for introducing dance patterns that gain general adoption e.g Alingo . Azonto, also a dance from Ghana is very popular. The dance is known to have originated from a traditional dance called Kpanlogo. Ghanaian footballer Asamoah Gyan and Togolese football star Emmanuel Adebayor have performed the dance as part of their goal celebrations. Following the worldwide interest in the Ghana’s Azonto dance, and the name of Azonto itself is being used for a varieties of entertaining activities, such as Azonto Petroleum. Other popular West & South African culture dances include Ethighi, Kukekre , Bobaraba, Hlokoloza etc.There are many African drama groups who perform in the various African culture dances on international platforms.Diasporans like Brazil, Mexico,Puerto Rico and others have embedded the African culture dance into their culture.