Ewe Dances: Atsiagbekor Dance

Atsiagbekor is among the oldest traditional dances of the Ewe-speaking people of Southern Ghana, Togo, and Benin. Originally a war dance performed after battle when the warriors returned to the village, it is now performed on many social occasions. One of the outstanding features of the dance is the interaction between the master drummer and the dancers: ‘every rhythmic theme played on the master drum has a corresponding sequence of dance movements which is timed to precisely match the drum rhythms” (Locke, 1978). Atsiagbekor songs constitute an important heritage of Ewe oral tradition. Most of the songs contain historical references to their chiefs, war leaders, migration stories, themes relating to the invincibility of the Ewes against their enemies, themes of loyalty, bravery, and death etc. To watch an Atsiagbekor performance today in Ghana is to watch scenes, which may have their actual origins in battles that were fought as the Ewes trekked through hostile countries in search of peace.

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