Dance is a central facet of life in many cultures throughout the African continent. As the New Encyclopedia beautifully explains, “In Africa, dance is a means of marking life experiences, encouraging abundant crops, honoring kings and queens, celebrating weddings, marking rites of passage, and other ceremonial occasions. Dance is also done purely for enjoyment. Ritual dance, including many dances utilizing masks, is a way of achieving communication with the gods.”
Although modernization, globalization, and migration threaten to change the African cultural fabric, many African dances and their meanings still remain.
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Below are 5 traditional ceremonial dances and what they mean.