Dance is one of the best art forms for expression. People gyrate in order to celebrate, commemorate or even to prepare for some ritual. One of the largest and most popular ethnic groups in Nigeria is the Igbo tribe. The Igbo people reside in southeastern and south-central Nigeria. When one speaks about the culture of a tribe, interest is in the art, food, music, language, and even the cultural dance forms. Historic and traditional dance goes back hundreds and thousands of years. Nigeria has varieties of folk and tribal dances in regions across the country. The eastern region, which consist mostly of the Igbo tribe, have a list of traditional dances performed as a form of emotional expression, social interaction, or exercise and these dances are sometimes used to express ideas or tell a story.
1. Atilogwu dance
Atilogwu is a traditionally spirited youth dance from the Igbo ethnic group of Nigeria. Atilogwu is one of the most entertaining Igbo dance that focuses on vigorous body movement and often includes acrobatics flips, high jumps and so on.
2. Ogene dance
Ogene dance (Egwu ogene) is a popular traditional energy dance from the northern part of Igbo land mainly in Enugu and Anambra. Although know as Egwu ogene(ogene dance). Ogene is not the only musical instrument that produces the melody that the ogene dancers dance to, other instruments that gives ogene music its melodious tone includes. Ogene, Oja or Opi, Igba, Abia, Oyo or Ichaka, Udu and sometimes Ekwe.
3. Ikpirikpi ogu dance (War Dance)
Ikpirikpi ogu dance is a popular war dance performed in several parts of Eastern Nigeria. The dance which has its roots from Abia state is performed by a group of muscular men in commemoration of their strength in fighting and winning wars in the past.
4. Nkwa umuagbogho
Ngwa umuagbogho is a maiden dance performed mainly by young maidens from eastern part of Nigeria. Although this maiden dance has many names depending on the community, Nkwa umuagbogho is more popular in Ebonyi state where the maiden dance got the name Ngwa umuagbogho dance group.
5. Egedege dance
Egedege dance is an Igbo traditional dance style that originated in the southeastern part of Nigeria. This dance style is as old as every other dance in Igbo land but made very popular by Queen Theresa Onuorah of Unubi in Anambra State.
6. Aku na eche enyi (Igba ndi Eze)
Aku na eche enyi, also known as Igba ndi Eze is mostly and Commonly used in a special events to usher in special guests, kings, titled men and women into special occasions.
Also Read: 25 Most Popular Igbo Masquerades
7. Mmanuwu dance
Igbo Masquerade Dance, The Igbo masquerade is a phenomenal dancer. One of the mysterious aspects of the masquerade is their ability to dance with so much energy for long periods of time. Egwu mmanwu as they are called in Igboland are performed by secret societies and represent ancestral spirits as well as deities. During the festivals, they provide entertainment as well as protection to those in attendance. Watching an Igbo masquerade dance is one of the most interesting and entertaining things anyone can see.
8. Adamma dance
Adamma is a contemporary maiden spirit mask that originates from Enugu state, southeastern Nigeria. The mask is performed by men only and is accompanied by music that the masker dances to. Unlike other Igbo masks Adamma mask does not have any spiritual value behind it.
This dance is said to be strictly reserved for and performed by married women or much older women for some specific reasons. The dance generally involves responsive movement of the body in a rhythmic fashion to hip-swinging music and the women are attired in uniformed wear, which involves a blouse, mostly white in colour, double wrapper tied after each other, with one reaching or covering the entire leg, while the other hangs below the knee, in a ”three-quarter” way. There is always an ”Ichafu” (head tie, gear) to complement the dressing.
10. Oge/Ese dance
Oge dance also called Ese in some part of igbo land is a very popular but yet not well know dance. Oge dance is mostly performed my elderly men to celebrate the life of a man who died at a very old age or a man presumed to have accomplished a lot throughout his life time. Instruments that gives Oge its melodious tone here includes xylophones (Ikpa) Ekwe slit-drums and Abia cylinder drum.