Dance and Identity Formation: A Comparative Study of Ugoamaka and Nkpokiti

Author: Nwafor Ofobuike
Department: Theartre Arts
Affiliation: Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka

Most African societies have indigenous performances that embody the cultural attributes of the people. Dance is one of these performances that are used to mark significant events in the community. Dance is among the performing arts that has the tendency and potency to evolve and take a new form in line with socio-cultural changes in the society. This is refered to as dance development in this study. Dance development here describes the different stages of evolution a dance has undergone to get to its present stage. The ability to evolve is what enables a dance to become an effective tool for identity formation. Therefore, the problem of this study is to evaluate how dances can contribute to the resolution of identity issues in Nigeria through their development and acquisition of new identity. In this study, the focus is to reveal those factors that necessitate these changes and how they have contributed in giving the selected dances new forms that foster national identity formation. Using the qualitative method of research, this paper studies Nkpokiti and Ugoamaka dances comparatively and concludes that most African
indigenous dances have not been static, but have evolved over the years, and therefore capable of evolving national identity for the multi-ethnic Nigerian nation state.

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