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All You Need To Know About Adowa Dance

Adowa Dance

An Adowa Dance performance

Adowa Dance is one of the most popular styles practiced in Ghana. It apparently belongs to a tribal community in the country known as ‘Ashanti‘ or ‘Asante‘ who are a part of the Akan ethnic group. Now, the obvious question that needs to be asked is, what exactly is this dance form? Here is then presenting an analysis highlighting the facts that you need to know about this unique West African dance style.

Adowa Dancers

An Adowa performance

a. What is Adowa Dance?

‘Traditional’ is what Adowa, a Ghanaian dance form is. It  is mainly performed by people during cultural events such as festivals, funerals, marriages etc. Furthermore, this dance style has been created to enable people to express themselves via their hands and feet.

b. Adowa Dance Music, What does it entail?

‘Polyrhythmic Accents’ is what the music accompanying Adowa comprises of. The instruments used includes mainly drums and bell. In addition, the lyrics written generally express the social and moral values of the Ghanaian society. Some of the drums used are atumpan, apentemma, petia, brenko, and donno. While bells used include: dawuru and atoke. Additionally, this dance is performed in ‘compound triple time’ with the beat of the drums comprising of an interesting mix ‘syncopation and cross-rhythms’.

c. Adowa Dance costume, What do they include?

The costume worn by the dancer while performing Adowa includes, a piece of cloth wrapped around the body from the chest right up to the knees. In the case of women, a red or black cloth is tied around the head. Furthermore, jewelry is mainly worn around head, shoulders, upper arms, wrists, knees, and ankles. In addition, performers also carry an handkerchief either coloured or dark depending on the occasion. For example, a dark coloured handkerchief is generally carried only during funerals.

d. How Adowa Dance is performed?

‘Hands and feet’ are mainly used by the dancer while performing Adowa. The basic steps of this unique dance style are as follows:

  1. Firstly, the performer needs to apply pressure and move his/her right foot forward.
  2. Secondly, these movements made by the dancer must be exaggerated and not just simple.
  3. Finally, the performer during the performance must ensure that there is an interaction with the drummer that is not obvious.In addition, a sad facial expression generally needs to be exhibited by the dancer.

e.  Adowa Dance YouTube Video:

If, you intend to now watch the Adowa Dance after having read a few facts about it, here is then presenting a YouTube Video illustrating how it is done.

Thus, Adowa is essentially a typical West African dance which involves the use of feet, hands, and lots of drum play to accompany it.

Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons and Wikimedia Commons

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