Download PDF by Elizabeth A. Hanley: African Dance, 2nd Edition (World of Dance)

By Elizabeth A. Hanley

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Mendiane is a harvest dance that is sung in the Malinke language. The dancers perform intricate polyrhythmic footwork in which the legs stretch outwardly from the knee, as counterpoint to quick rotations of the wrist. The dance begins quietly in song and builds to a crescendo of exuberance. As an ancient tribute to farming, the Bambana people of Mali call upon the mystical creature Tyi Wara to bestow blessings on the everyday 50 African Dance Animals are often represented in African mask dances, such as the antelope in this dance performed in Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso.

The sound is slightly different, but the convenience of recycling materials instead of having to hammer out the metal is worth it. This is how traditions gradually change. Dance, like other societal institutions, is a product of the times and reflects the times in which it exists. Belief systems change within the religion and outside of the religion, and again the dance reflects the change. Circle Dances Historically, the circle is one of the earliest spatial forms. When people lived in circular dwellings and enclosures, they danced circular dances.

Their movements become more intricate, changing in rapid succession. Improvisation is widely used in African dances, and in the Ekpe dance it is used to demonstrate and highlight the dancer’s skills. Ezembo is a mask dance/play in which an ancestral mask called Ezembo interacts with his wife, Ogoli; their teenage son, Akawo; and two young women in order to dramatize an exemplary family life. Ezembo is a model husband and father. Ogoli is a humble wife who respects her husband and sets an example for other women.

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