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By Kariamu Welsh-Asante

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Extra info for African dance

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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 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. Okonkwo is a dance of the Ibo tribe that displays the skills of the best dancers in the community and is danced by men who wear wooden masks; decorated wooden or calabash caps and a red wooden headpiece; plastic waistbands and numerous small bits of colored cloth on the bodies and waists; and white shorts and ankle rattles.

Q 3/25/04 8:34 PM Page 40 40 AFRICAN DANCE Chakaba wears a headdress with side fringes and his body is clothed in African print costume that covers the body to the top of the stilts. The legs of the stilts are covered in the same material that covers the body. Some Chakaba wear a palm fiber or raffia skirt and carry a whisk, and many of the stilted figures jump rope. In Benin, the Yoruba people do a stilt dance called Okparou and the Fon people perform Zangbeto. In Zangbeto, performers come out at night to ostensibly watch over the town.

Atsea (Achaya’) is a secular dance of the people of West Togo and is performed by women. Dzimexe is a Togolese dance, which literally means “dance of the back” and is primarily danced by men at socials and funerals. Takai is a royal social dance in Nigeria performed by men who wear long leopard skin and feathers, and are accompanied by drums and handclapping. Bangumanga is a Ghanaian victory dance performed by the chief ’s children and wife for him at a ceremonial occasion, while Kpanlogo, also from Ghana, is a social, urban piece that was created in 1963.

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