There are many forms of African dances, some of which are detailed below:
Warrior Dances. One example of a warrior dance is Agbekor. Franci Elkins, a world renowned African dancer, has been quoted as saying that this is her favorite dance. Agbekor comes from the Foh and Ewe people. It is an ancient dance once known as Atamga. Agbekor is often performed at cultural events and at funerals. Dance movements mimic battlefield tactics such stabbing with the end of the horsetail. This dance consists of phrases of movements. A phrase consists of a "turn" which occurs in every phrase and then a different ending movement. These phrases are added back to back with slight variations within them, and make up the dance.
Dances of Love are performed on special accessions, such as weddings and anniversaries. One example is the Nmane dance performed in Ghana. It is done solely by women during weddings in honor of the bride.
Rites of Passage and Coming of Age Dances are performed to mark the coming of age of young men and women. They give confidence to the dancers who have to perform in front of everyone. It is then formally acknowledged they are adults. This builds pride, as well as a stronger sense of community.
Dances of Welcome are a show of respect and pleasure to visitors, as well as a show of how talented & attractive the host villagers are. Yabara is a West African Dance of Welcome marked by ''The Beaded Net Covered Gourd Rattle'' (sekere-pronounced Shake-er-ay). It is thrown into the air to different heights by the female dancers to mark tempo and rhythm changes. This is an impressive spectacle, as all the dancers will throw & catch them at the same time.
Dances of Possession and Summoning These are common themes, and very important in many Traditional African Religions. They all share one common link: a call to a Spirit. These spirits can be the spirits of Plants or Forests, Ancestors, or Deities. The Orishas are the Deities found in many forms of African religion, such as Candomble, Santería, Yoruba mythology, Voodoo, and others. Each orisha has their favourite colours, days, times, foods, drinks, music, and dances. The dances will be used on special occasions to honor the orisha, or to seek help and guidance. The orisha may be angry and need appeasing. Kakilambe is a great spirit of the forest who is summoned using dance. He comes in the form of a giant statue carried from the forest out to the waiting village. There is much dancing and singing. During this time the statue is raised up, growing to a height of around 15". Then the priest communes and asks Kakilambe if they will have good luck over the coming years, and if there are any major events to be aware of, such as drought, war, or other things.not
The stamping dance known as Ndlamu, is done by the Nguni group of tribes, each in their own fashion. It is a secular dance performed by young men in single or double line. Different tempos, manners of stamping the ground, ending the dance, and ways of holding their dance sticks are used by each tribe: the Itlangwini from Southern Natal; the Baca from the Eastern Cape Province; the Mpondo and Mpondomisi from further south; and perhaps best known, the Zulu.
Adumu, Maasai traditional dance.Adumu is a Maasai dance which is performed during Eunoto, the coming of age ceremony of warriors. This dance, also referred to as aigus, or “the jumping dance” by non-Maasai. (both adumu and aigus are Maa verbs meaning "to jump" with adumu meaning "To jump up and down in a dance") has made Maasai warriors known for, and often photographed during, this competitive jumping. A circle is formed by the warriors, and one or two at a time will enter the center to begin jumping while maintaining a narrow posture, never letting their heels touch the ground. Members of the group may raise the pitch of their voices based on the height of the jump.
Kpanlogo comes from Ghana, more specifically the Ga ethnic group. This dance started in the capital city of Accra, but now it is enjoyed throughout the country. Kpanlogo is known as a highlife dance form performed to conga-like drums. The music of Kpanlogo is especially important. ET Mensah is considered the King of dance band highlife, and played in many bands and locations. Kpanlogo is a fairly recent dance and started around 1940 after World War II, which is when the dance band highlife scene picked up recognition. Odette Blum talks about the movements. There is a free-flowing motion to this dance, with arms swinging around. There is no stillness in this dance, the free flowing motion, of a move either beginning or ending, fills pauses. The torso acts as the stronghold base of this dance since the center of gravity shifts rapidly from one foot to the other.
Yankadi and Macru are two common dances. They are from Guinea, West Africa. Yankadi is slow and mellow, while Macru has a faster tempo with lots of movement. The men and women who participate in the dance face each other in rows; everyone has a scarf, and the dancers put their scarf on the one whom they wish to dance with.
Moribayasa from the Malinke people in Guinea, is a dance for a woman who has overcome a great adversity. The woman prepares by putting on old, ragged clothes. Accompanied by musicians, she circles the village several times, singing and dancing. The women of the village follow her and sing too. Then the dancer changes her clothes and buries her old ragged clothes in a special spot. This may be at a cross-roads or, as in the village of master drummer Mamady Keïta, it is under a mango tree.
Agbekor comes from the Fon and Ewe people. It is an ancient dance once known as Atamga. Agbekor is often performed at cultural events and at funerals. This dance is performed with horsetails, and the movements mimic battlefield tactics such as stabbing with the end of the horsetail. This dance consists of phrases of movements. A phrase consists of a "turn" which occurs in every phrase and then a different ending movement. These phrases are added back to back with slight variations within them.
Agahu dance was created by the Egun speaking people of Ketonu. Though this dance was believed to be based on the Yoruba dance from Badagry because the Yoruba costume was used, some Yoruba words were used in Agahu songs, and the dance is associated with the Nigerian town Badgry. Agahu is a popular social dance in West Africa. Agahu's music is also very important to the dance. Dance movements are closely related to the percussive rhythms and songs. The lead drum called an agboba, a large barrel-shaped drum, can distinguish Agahu from other dances. In this dance there are two circles, one with men and the other with women.