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Traditional Dances of the Igbo Tribe of Nigeria

Mmanwu Dance

The Mmanwu dance is for masquerades and recognized as the most-popular dance in Igbo culture, according to Nigerian writer Jovago. Traditionally, masquerades represent gods or messengers who imparted punishments and judgments to those in power.

They were untouchable; feared to be spirits.

It was assumed that during the Mmanwu dance, the spirit of the deity possessed the person wearing masquerade. The Mmanwu dance was and is still featured in most Igbo carnivals, celebrations and funerals including the new yam festival.

Their performances are usually vibrant and mobile causing so audience

Ekombi Dance

Efik people that live mostly in Cross River state are fond of this dance. Being very colorful and bright it is performed by girls. The movements are derived from the motions of the ocean. It is a graceful dance with incredible footwork, it’s a dance of peace and happiness. Ekombi shows a woman’s beauty and femininity, the dance is also a good platform to choose a partner for marriage.

Bata Dance

It is a traditional dance of Yoruba people and is dedicated to the god of thunder – Sango. Bata drum is done to the music of bata drum. When his sacred days are approaching, Sango is meant to be an athlete. Men, as well as women make various movements to celebrate his strength in this Yoruba cultural dance. Bata dance in Yoruba land is an entertaining dance usually done by professional dancers. It is commonly accompanied with music, chants and song. The songs and chants depend on the nature of the occasion.

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Bata drums produce the music to the Bata dances, and there are many variants as there are Bata beats and rhythms.

Koroso Dance

Such cultural ethnic groups as Fulani and Kano have the Koroso dance in their entertaining shows. This dance is very interesting, it can be performed both alone and in pairs. People with rattles around their legs make different kinds of movements.

Koros dance is not the most complicated one among the existing traditional dances in Nigeria. Still, it requires a lot of attention and skills because sometimes the movements and figures created by the dancers’ bodies look incredible. Quite often, this dance is done in pairs, while both performers help each other and overcome the competitors within the same dance. The performers wear special leg items, which create a specific noise and additional sound to the music. However, within the recent decades, the dance has undergone certain changes. In 1987, a group of young people performed a dance dedicated to the harvest season and their moves were added to the existing Koroso dance.

This dance began with only three dance steps

  1. Dangwarirya
  2. Gaisuwa
  3. Gwamna Mai Baza

The additional ones that came later were much more numerous and the dance became far more diverse:

  • Mai Fula Fulai (of the Hausa origin)
  • Nyore Nyore (of the Fulani origin)
  • Banjo (of the Fulani origin)
  • Rawar Noma (of the Hausa origin)
  • Taro Na Bata (of the Hausa origin)
  • Rawar Bindiga (of the Hausa origin)
  • Gwauro Ina Matarka (of the Hausa origin)

Sometime later, the dance was modernized even further, especially after some smaller dancing groups included modern moves borrowed from the performance of Michael Jackson, MC Hammer, and others.

Swange Dance

The 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 popular among people in Benue State and takes place during different events. The performers make both slow and quick movements showing their flexibility. Due to that Swange is often called as ”boneless” dance. The rhythm is produced by traditional horn called ‘Al-Gaita‘and beats. The 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.

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Traditional Dances of the Igbo Tribe of Nigeria. (2020, Nov 29). Retrieved from

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