African Music And Dance Invited Me To Take A Thrilling

1518 WordsJan 17, 20177 Pages
African music and dance invited me to take a thrilling journey this past semester. A journey from surprise to skepticism, then from acceptance to appreciation. From the beginning of the semester up till now, the way I have looked at African music and dance has changed and changed, with characteristics varying and twisting about, occasional nuances becoming essential features, and music and dance eventually becoming inseparable. This new understanding that I have of such a deep-rooted yet underestimated subject in American history and culture has truly prompted me to look at all types of music and dance from a new angle. But despite all that I’ve learned about African music and dance throughout this course, we have mainly looked at the the…show more content…
When the music reaches it’s peak, it dies down to emphasize the lyrics of what could be considered the chorus, Kuti’s mocking soldier commands, and the men begin to act out those lyrics through dance. After two iterations of the chorus and a brief intermission, the music picks up again and the women join in. For the remainder of the work, dancers are engulfed into a vivacious, free-willed routine – all the while mocking the movements and conduct of the not-so-vivacious zombie soldiers. After watching this performance several times, it was this dichotomy between free will and submission that stuck out to me most. Moving on to the purpose of this paper, there are a few particular aesthetic senses of African music and dance that appeared more up-front to me in this work. Polyrhythm, which refers to the ability to maintain two different beats – two different rhythms – simultaneously, was apparent to me when paying attention to the different ways that the men and women were respectively dancing throughout the work. While the men showcased a lot of quick and rigid movements like the plantation dance hop-step, the women seemed to focus more on less distinct, fluid movements that continuously bridged into one another. To me, the significance of all this is that as dancers maintain two rhythms simultaneously, the focus is no longer whether their movements are

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