By Kariamu Welsh-Asante
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Extra info for African dance
African dances in general tend to be grounded, with the focus toward the earth. q 3/25/04 8:27 PM Page 35 Dance as a Reflection of Life of the food for the people. African dances are dynamic in ways that challenge rhythmic sensibilities. The dynamics are engineered to give the dances texture and to elevate or transcend the material or physical world. In other words, for African dance, speed and repetition aids and facilitates transcendence, which is often a desired goal. African dance is largely participatory, meaning that the spectators are a part of the performance as well.
Close relatives and friends accompany the possessed person in the dance and, in the process, some of these people are temporarily possessed by demons. The vigorous music making and dancing go on for many hours.
An Agaba performer has a horned headdress, topped by crescent-shaped buffalo horns, and the narrow, pointed horns of various kinds of antelopes, which symbolize masculinity. Sometimes paddles and spears are added as hunting symbols of masculine strength or carved figures may be added. Agaba has a gaping mouth with several massive teeth showing. The traditional costume for Agaba is a two-piece suit of tough cloth covered with akwebilisi—large brown seeds that are attached in rows so they overlap and rattle.
African dance by Kariamu Welsh-Asante