Traditional performances are manifestations of the practices and beliefs of the people that regulate and shape patterns of behaviours.
Like any other African country, Ghana has traditional performances that differ amongst the various ethnic groups.
The ethnic groups in Ghana include the Ashanti’s, The Guans, The Ga-Dangme, The Mole Dagbani, The Grusi and The Mande.
These ethnic groups in Ghana serve as the custodians of cultural heritage, and this cultural heritage is the forms of marriage, funeral rites, puberty rites, clothes, food, music and Dance.
These cultural heritages have various functions amongst them: their capacities to preserve culture, pass history from one generation to another, serve as a source of recreation, and many others.
Traditional Dance is one of the performances that form part of African society. Traditional Dance permeates all of our social and ceremonial activities; that is, it creates an integral part of all the vital facets of our life cycles.
The various ethnic groups in Ghana have different types of Dance, which mainly distinguishes them from one another. These Traditional dances include; The Adowa, The Agbadza, The Borborbor, The Bamaya, The Kple, Apatampa, The Bawa and many others.
Ethnic Groups In Ghana And Their Dances
Below are the dance of some ethnic groups in Ghana to know;
1. The Adowa
The Akans perform the Adowa dance. They form part of the southern part of Ghana and speak Twi as their native language. It was named after the motions of the antelope (adowa).
According to history, once, an Ashanti queen mother named Aberewa Tutuwa fell ill and demanded a live antelope when the oracle was consulted. The Asafo (warrior) was dispatched right away to obtain the live antelope.
When they returned home with the antelope, they were astounded to see them bouncing and making strong movements. When the queen was retrieved, the people began the Adowa dance by joy copying the antelope’s Dance.
It is used to communicate emotions and feelings amongst both sexes, and the tone varies depending on the situation. It is usually performed during festivals, funerals and marriage ceremonies
2. The Agbadza
The Ewe tribe of the Volta Region performs this traditional Dance. The Agbadza originated from an ancient war called Atrikpui, and it is usually performed during the Hogbestsotso festival.
There are five motions involved in the Agbadza dance: the Banyinyi, The vutsotsor, The Adzo, The Hatsatsa. The vutsotsor again is performed by men and women with drums, rattles, and a gong-gong accompaniment: A slow stride in which the arms flap at the side with elbows extended and a quick step in which the arms flap back and forth while extended downwards.
3. The Bamaya
The story behind Bamaya is that the Dance was first performed in the early 19th Century to mark an end to a protracted drought that hit most parts of the Dagbon states in the Northern Region.
This Dance is known as a “rain dance.” Originally, only women performed the Bamaya, but nowadays, men dressed as women perform it.
The Bamaya ensemble comprises a lead dancer, other dancers and drummers who also double as chorus singers and sing along with the dancers.
The Dance’s moves have a lot of metaphorical meaning. As they dance around the drummers, the dancers move their feet quickly and twist their waists numerous times.
Their dancers’ waists and chins are adorned with beads and cymbal bells, making noise as they shake and pound their feet.
4. The Kple Dance
During the Homowo celebration in late August and early September, priestesses perform this ritual dance in shrines throughout Greater Accra.
This Dance is performed to communicate with the gods and bring favours to the people.
5. Apatampa Dance
The Fanti people of Ghana perform Apatampa, a dance. The name of the Dance is believed to have originated from a long-ago episode in which a giant attacked and killed the Fante men late at night.
When the giant fought the last man one night, a woman entered and danced skillfully to draw everyone’s attention away from the struggle. She received acclaim for breaking up the fight (apata ampa in Fante).
The Dance begins with the individual slapping both thighs twice with both hands and clapping the hands on the third beat. The fourth and fifth beats are then made by beating the chest twice. While moving, this is done with a smile and a happy countenance. In addition, the dancing performance follows the beat of the instruments.
6. Borborbor Dance
This Dance is usually performed by People from the Central and northern parts of the Volta Region of Ghana, especially during the festival of the chiefs and the communities.
It was demonstrated by the inhabitants of Kpando and was initially known as the Akpese Dance.
The Dance is prevalent in Highlife, a popular Ghanaian music genre. It is seen as a social dance that allows for individual expression.
It should be well noted that Traditional dances reflect the Ghanaian culture and subsequently serve as a symbol of identity.
Presented above are the traditional dances of some of the ethnic groups in Ghana.
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