By Elizabeth A. Hanley
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Extra resources for African Dance, 2nd Edition (World of Dance)
It is trimmed with multicolored raffia fringes at the waist and ankles. Yalimidyo is a funeral dance performed by graduate members of the Poro society of Liberia. Girnya is a Nigerian (Tiv) dance performed by men at the burial of an important man who has been victorious at war. Fila and Kamuru are Senufo (Ivory Coast and Mali) funeral dances performed by male and female youths. In the Kamuru, performers wear a one-piece knit suit, a belt of iron bells, and a waist skirt of raffia. Gbon is a dance for funerals or initiations performed by men who wear high raffia polychrome collars that hide the base of a helmetlike mask.
The musicians play and dance during the performance of the mask. Several sturdy men, who tread heavily and powerfully through the village, threatening spectators who stand at safe distances, accompany Agaba. Agaba’s movements are irregular and erratic, and when taunted by the accompanists, Agaba shakes its rattling body furiously, stamping and rushing at spectators until attendants who hold a rope restrain him. In the arena, the mask, followed by elders, goes around greeting guests. Then the leader of the ogene men dances toward the mask and retreats, symbolizing the relationship between the living and the dead (Agaba).
Odabra is an Idoma (Nigeria) word meaning “yams in abundance,” and it is part of the “New Yam” festival. The dance steps express the hunger that the villagers have experienced and the joy for the sun and rain that have brought a bountiful harvest. Young boys 10 to 16 years old perform this dance. Su, a fishing dance, commemorates annual fishing festivals. The dance has two parts: a ritual to clear the water and purify it for an abundant catch, and the actual movement of fishermen into the waters.