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By Elizabeth A. Hanley

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Additional info for African Dance, 2nd Edition (World of Dance)

Sample text

In Africa, the religious ceremonies used music and dance to help people make spiritual connections to their ancestors. Dance is music and music is dance in African cultures. The two are inseparable and in many African languages, there is not a separate word for dance. Musicians were admired for the skill with which they played their drums, whistles, horns, guitars, flutes, and other instruments in complicated rhythms. A favorite kind of music had a call-and-response pattern. The leader sang out a short bit of music and the people sang it back to him, accompanied by drums and other percussion instruments.

Women perform it, making music by rubbing together metal discs and bracelets. M’deup is a possession dance commonly performed by women. They make small shuffling steps and strong thrusts of their arms and head. National and Ethnic Identity Dances National and ethnic dances are designated as those that show allegiance to one’s national and ethnic background and are performed to songs that speak to national strength and loyalty. Kpegisu dance is closely linked to Ewe ethnic identity and is performed by men and women who dance in pairs or small groups.

In order for an event to be successful, everyone must be fully involved. Silence and stillness are not valued in the African performance arena. In fact, to be silent is to be critical in a negative way, and to be still shows disdain and contempt for the performance. The music and dance should move the observers so that it is manifested in movements that include bobbing heads, shoulders shifting, hips rolling, and feet stomping or some variation of the theme. The social unification and interaction developed during these dances is the ideal Dance as a Reflection of Life 37 or model for everyday activity as well.

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