Yoruba Dance : The Semiotics of Movement and Body Attitude in a Nigerian Culture


This book investigates the aesthetics, significance, and the production of meaning in Yoruba dance forms through an analysis of the dancer’s body attitude in communication as well as through the events in which dances take place. The author examines the Yoruba creative concept of dance as a performing art communicating non-verbally through and with other art forms and describes how dance functions as an extensive and complementary vehicle for the other arts. This approach, fully grounded in the cultural context of the Yoruba, highlights dance as a microcosm of Yoruba culture and at the same time presents it as a powerful art form and a communication vehicle. The collection of dances and dance events studied are from both ancient and historical times, reflecting and signifying the various cultures that engendered them, and each significant dance type — whether ritual dances in sacred / secular contexts or social and political dance ceremonies — is represented. The overall analysis emphasizes the fundamental integration of dance and dance-event in the African aesthetic, which is designed to both entertain and instruct.