By Elizabeth A. Hanley
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Extra info for African Dance, 2nd Edition (World of Dance)
Several sturdy men, who tread heavily and powerfully through the village, threatening spectators who stand at safe distances, accompany Agaba. Agaba’s movements are irregular and erratic, and when taunted by the accompanists, Agaba shakes its rattling body furiously, stamping and rushing at spectators until attendants who hold a rope restrain him. In the arena, the mask, followed by elders, goes around greeting guests. Then the leader of the ogene men dances toward the mask and retreats, symbolizing the relationship between the living and the dead (Agaba).
Asa/Agena is a dance that is performed by men for Ceremonial dances, such as this one in Ketou, Benin, are often performed during celebrations and festivals. Here, Oro Efe mask dancers sing traditional prayer songs to summon divine blessings on the Gelede Festival, which is celebrated by the Yoruba people to promote womanhood and motherhood. 56 African Dance Highlife: Popular African Social Dance and Music During the time of colonization (sixteenth to twentieth centuries), many popular dances became prevalent in Africa.
Rhythm emanates from both the performer’s and the observer’s worldview, thereby contrasting and affirming the entire community’s perception of the event. Dance as a Reflection of Life 33 Gender Issues Women use dance to convey modesty, grace, and demureness—often to express gender identity. In addition, throughout Africa, a woman’s ability to bear children is central to her identity, and this ability is reflected in the numerous initiation dances that usher her into adulthood. A woman’s childbearing abilities and her subsequent bearing of children are central to her position and status in her community.