Innovations and Reproductions in Cultures and Societies
(IRICS) Vienna, 9 - 11 december 2005

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Primary and Secondary Orality in Nigerian Dance Art: a Study of Continuity and Change in Yoruba Traditional Dances

Segun Oyeleke Oyewo (Department of Dramatic Arts, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria)


The need to document and review oral arts treasures is very important now because, for every old man that dies in Nigeria, a great library dies with him. It is also crucial in order to regulate bastardization or adulteration of oral performance of the present day primary oral sources. This paper focuses on the area of dance aesthetics and management in Nigeria. The purpose is to assess the level of change or degree of continuity in the dynamism of Yoruba traditional dances. It proposes to discover the salient aspects that are lost and also assess the impact of popular culture on the traditional dances and vice-versa. The paper attempts to study the extent of variation in select dances: dance steps, composition and aesthetics over time. The paper examines the aesthetic development and management structures of dances and reviews its effect on the artistic component of the dances over time. In its methodology, old oral performances recorded on celluloid are compared as secondary text with contemporary traditional dance performance as primary works.

Innovationen und Reproduktionen in Kulturen und Gesellschaften (IRICS) Wien, 9. bis 11. Dezember 2005

WEBDESIGN: Peter R. Horn 2005-09-05