The popular traditional dances in Nigeria have added to the uniqueness of the nation and distinguished her from other nations of the world. Dance activities add beauty, glamour, and fun to the nation.
Cultural dance is a special type of dance that is shared by a community. It can have specific uses and meanings. These include rituals, ceremonies like marriage and birth, paying respect to ancestors, or simply for enjoyment! The dance is unique to certain people and their traditions.
Traditional dances in Nigeria are many and reflect every aspect of life: from simple entertainment to worshipping the gods, wars, and festivity.
When one speaks about the culture of a people, interest is in the art, food, music, language, and even the cultural dance forms.
This article contains the top 10 popular traditional dances in Nigeria.
Top 10 Popular Traditional Dances In Nigeria
1. Atilogwu Dance
Atilogwu Is one of the top popular dances in Nigeria. It is a spirited youth dance from the Igbo ethnic group of Nigeria that focuses on vigorous body movement and often includes acrobatics. In the Igbo language, the word itself “Atilogwu” translates into “has magic, as in sorcery/witchcraft”.
The Atilogwu dance, one of the popular traditional dances in Nigeria is performed on important occasions such as marriages, festivals, coronations, and other important celebrations that involve the participation of the community. It remains one of the oldest and most popular traditional dances in Nigeria.
The energetic Atilogwu dance is usually and always accompanied by the sound of a drum and the Ogene which is the local traditional gong.
2. Ogene Dance
Ogene is a style of Igbo music consisting of, and taking its name from, the Ogene instrument, which is a large metal bell. The Ogene instrument has historically been made by the Igbo people of Nigeria. It is one of the most important metal instruments for people. This is one of the popular traditional dances in Nigeria.
The Ogene dance has its origin in the northern parts of Igboland. It requires a lot of energy, but the exuberance of the dancers is enough to woo you into joining them. Interestingly, other instruments such as Opi, Igba, Abia, and Udu combine with the Ogene to create a melodious tune for the dance.
3. The Koroso Dance
The Koroso dance is one of the most popular traditional dances in Nigeria. The Koroso dance is a colorful and athletic dance of the Hausa/Fulani tribe that has been performed for centuries. This is one of the popular traditional dances in Nigeria.
Koroso dance is a means of popularization of Nigerian traditional dances. This Nigerian dance is being performed in such a way that every change in the music means a transition from one dancing style to another. There’s a leader of the group and this leader orders the rest what to do at a certain moment in time.
4. Bata Dance
The bata dance is the most popular entertaining traditional dance among the Yoruba people of southwestern Nigeria. The bata dance can be performed as a part of a festival or dance performance or used to dethrone or enthrone a kind or at a cultural festival. This is one of the popular traditional dances in Nigeria.
Bata Dance style is a traditional dance peculiar to the Yoruba people of the Southwestern part of Nigeria. Historically, the dance is believed to be attributed to ”Sango” – the Yoruba god of Thunder and Lightning. The Bata dance is an expressive art not just imbued with rhythm and movements but avowed spirituality.
5. The Swange Dance
Swange is the name given to the traditional dance of the Tiv-speaking people of Benue State. It originated among the Tiv, Igala, and Idoma people. It is made by a loud sound, aided by a traditional horn (Al-Gaita), which blows in an unbroken succession for as long as the drumming, singing, and dancing continue.
The Swange is a form of urban recreational dance among the Tiv in which men and women dance together. This dance uses the circle formation familiar in village dances and adapts traditional musical themes to highlife rhythms played on a combination of Tiv and Hausa instruments.
6. The Ukwata Dance
The Ukwata dance is one of the major traditional dances of the Abbi people of Delta State. It is performed during the renowned Ukwata Festival. The Ukwata Festival on the other hand is celebrated as a rite of passage from one age group to another, and to honour the forefathers of the land.
Ukwata dance prominently honours the wonder of water and what it has to provide. The dancers frequently wear lovely blue and green costumes and imitate a variety of aquatic creatures, including crocodiles, iguanas, fish, and alligators. They create dance patterns that both allude to mermaid dance styles and illustrate the genesis of these aquatic creatures.
7. The Gese Dance
Gese is a religious dance rooted in the rituals, religion, and social activities of the Yoruba people and popular among the people of Okeigbo and Ifetedo local government areas of Ondo and Osun states respectively. Gese dance draws its inspiration from a popular drum, “Gese” among Yoruba people.
An interesting fact to note about the Gese dance is the assigning of distinctive beats and dance steps to different deities. Gese dancers decipher the patterns of drumbeats through their steps, gestures, and postures, and most times, the meanings can only be decoded by people within the same cultural context.
8. Agbaka Dance
Agbaka dance is one of the traditional dances of the Igala people of Kogi State in North Central Nigeria.
Within the praxis of the Igala cultural milieu, the Agbaka dance performance was originally called Iya-Igba. Agbaka dance performance is thaumaturgic (magical) in nature.
Agbaka dance is a very energetic dance characterized by gymnastics and acrobatics. vocabularies – tumbles, jumps, summersaults, spins, vibratory movements, stunts, crabwalks, etc. The movements are executed with speed, force, and grace.
9. Ogirinya Dance – Idoma
The people of Benue State are known for their proficiency in different scintillating and beautiful cultural dances. Among these dances include Ogirinya.
The most famous traditional dance of the Idoma people is known as the Ogirinya dance. It is a highly energetic dance that requires jumping (at regular intervals) on the toes for a short period.
10. Ugho Dance – Edo Land
Ugho is the most danced and watched in the land. It is the dance for all seasons and many who would want a dance of grace and charm will rush to hire Ugho Troupe for festivals such as childbirth, marriages, and Eho.
In style, it is the dance that most typifies the temperament and the elegance of the Edo woman and her aversion to clumsiness. In the dance, virtually only the hands and the feet, move in cadence with the rhythm of the music. The arms and the legs contribute little to the dance.
Dance is unique to certain people and their traditions. The popular traditional dances in Nigeria add beauty to the tribes and decor of the nation.
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