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African Dance

4 Pages 1084 Words

The African aesthetic dance form has many characteristics that have influenced the dance forms of The New World, starting with the sacred circle in Dahomey to the Vodun ritual, Ring Shout, up to Minstrelsy, Vaudville, and musical theatre. The characteristics include the Di-bod philosophy which is an emphasis on the joints, and the movements are centrifugal in which the pelvic region is emphasized. They dance in a crouched position and are always barefoot giving them more of a connection to the earth. The dances were rhythmic, they didn’t dance with out drums for the drums were symbolized as a heart beat, and were hermeneutic, interprets life and feelings. The movements were dynamic; continuous and percussive, as opposed to static, holding a position as done in the Hindu religion. The movements also imitate animals in a realistic detail, and are polyrhythmic; all body parts are moving to different drum beats. Also improvisation was of great importance for it was historically used as a survival technique.
The sacred circle in Dahomey was the beginning of all circle dances. The circle in the circle dance had great meaning, it represented life and how it keeps moving as if in a circle. In the circle of life we go from birth to living to death over and over again, it is a never ending circle cycle. Its form included the shuffling of the feet in a crouched position, everybody part is moving and you are moving in a counterclockwise position. The sacred circle was later transformed into the Ring shout once it reached the New World and unlike the Ring Shout the circle dance had the choice of crossing there feet while dancing. This sacred circle gave way to many other dance forms and served as a foundation to American dance.
Haitian Vodun began in 1531 and is said to be “a dance of the spirit: a system of movement gestures, prayers, and songs on veneration of the invisible forces of life”. Vodun is a spiritual practice of most H...

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