A FUNCTIONALIST DISCOURSE OF THE INDIGENOUS DANCE THEATRE TRADITION IN AFRICA

Tijime Justin Awuawuer

Abstract

This paper from participatory and critical perspectives, attempts a functionalist discourse investigation of the home-grown African dance tradition from a philosophical and sociological praxis. From an experiential vantage position, the thesis of the paper holds strongly that, as art forms, dances in Africa serve various functions; as catalysts for socio-political and economic transformation. Using Swange dance of the Tiv people from Central Nigeria as a paradigm, and from a functionalist point of view, the article sees African dances as contributing a greater part in uncountable ways in a positive transformation of the society. It also sees dance as a domain within the humankind that should be harnessed for greater and positive socio-political dividends. In conclusion, the article holds strongly that the efficacies of these indigenous African dances cannot be over emphasized considering the numerous functions these dances perform towards the socio-political and economic development of the African societies, because most of these dances have often acted as sites for staging various cultural histories as well as formulating ideology.

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