Traditional dances in Nigeria and their meaning

Traditional dances in Nigeria and their meaning

Traditional dances in Nigeria are many and reflect every aspect of life: from simple entertainment to worshiping the gods, wars and marriage. Many of them still exist and are performed at different events and festivals.

Traditional dance

Dances is an integral part of every culture. It is almost impossible to mention all of them as the country is the motherland for many tribes, but the most popular types of dance in Nigeria are described here.

Ukwata Dance

This dance is traditional for Abbi people who usually perform it at the Ukwata Festival. It has the religious roots and looks like worshipping the gods. The dance is closely related to the element of water: people are dressed in blue and green colors pretending to be fishes, crocodiles and other marine inhabitants.

Atilogwu Dance

It looks more like acrobatic performance, than a dance and resembles modern cheerleader shows. Mostly young people take part in Atilogwu at various kinds of events and festivals just for fun.

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This dance is characteristic for Abam people in Abia State and considered to be a war dance. Its unique feature: it was performed only by men who came back from war to celebrate their courage and prowess.

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Nowadays it can be seen among other nigerian dances at different shows and festivals like a symbol of power, strength or victory in some competition.

Nkwa umu-Agbogho

It is popular among people of Eboyin State. It is often called as Maiden dance, as it was performed only by girls who are adult enough to get married. The main aim of this Nigerian dance was to attract future husband by active moving of chest and waist. In modern world, this dance is turned to simple entertainment and is performed by girls and women with flexible bodies.

Traditional dances in Nigeria

Omuru-onwa and Agbacha-ekuru-nwa

It can be performed by married women only. It is meant that rhythmic movements with hips keep the body in shape after childbirth. Such afro dance is great physical activity that helps in losing weight and staying healthy in case of regular performing.

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It is typical for Igbo people and looks like real masquerades. A long time ago masquerades were a mysterious process when gods were meant to send some signs or punishment. People who took part in fancy dressing up were very reputable and are thought to be close to gods.

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People thought that the god’s spirit incarnates into those who are wearing masquerade costumes.

The Mmanwu dance is still popular and performed at festivals (for example the New yam festival), celebrations and funerals.

Ekombi Dance

Efik people that live mostly in Cross River state are fond of this dance. Being very colorful and bright it is performed by girls.

Bata Dance

It is a traditional dance of Yoruba people and is dedicated to the god of thunder – Sango. Bata drum is done to the music of bata drum..

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When his sacred days are approaching, Sango is meant to be an athlete. Men, as well as women make various movements to celebrate his strength in this Yoruba cultural dance.

Nigerian culture

Koroso Dance

Such cultural ethnic groups as Fulani and Kano have the Koroso dance in their entertaining shows. This dance is very interesting, it can be performed both alone and in pairs. People with rattles around their legs make different kinds of movements.

Swange Dance

The dance is popular among people in Benue State and takes place during different events. The performers make both slow and quick movements showing their flexibility. Due to that Swange is often called as ''boneless'' dance. The rhythm is produced by traditional horn called ‘Al-Gaita‘ and beats.

Traditional dances in Nigeria

Ohogho Dance

It is the dance from Benin traditions and relates to religion. Only particular people can perform it – from strong and healthy age groups.

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Ohongo is a whole ceremony during which people dance in circles accompanied with gongs, magical herbs are more.

Gese Dance

This one is Yoruba cultural dance and has the name which is referred to the type of drums. It has religious roots and it is kind of worship to Yoruba gods.

Nigeria is very rich in history and cultural. The variety of tribes with their unique traditions makes this country in the world.

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