FEATURE ARTICLE

Augustine C. OhanweMonday, October 30, 2006
chyinaho@yahoo.com


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BEYONCÉ'S VISIT TO NIGERIA: WHAT SHE MISSED


he organisers of Beyoncé's visit to Nigeria showered her with Nigerian hospitality but they could have gone a bit further. As a dancer of international repute, it could have dawned on the people who hosted her that Nigeria has something to add to her trade.


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It must be acknowledged that we live in a world of sharing and borrowing. No single nation can claim that its culture is 100% free from outside influence. Influences that impact on cultures do so either directly or indirectly. My assertion in this regard is made, taking on board the impacts colonisation, military conquest of antiquity, migration as well T.V. have deposited on our shores. For the organisers of Beyoncé's visit to have reached a conclusion that she has nothing to extract from Nigeria that could be added to her dancing style is dead wrong.

While many dancers or musicians have relied on their creativities they still reach out for "new" exotic trends that could be added to their unique style. Dancers are eclectic in their trade in order to obliterate monotony and create room for variety. Nigerians who have watched Beyoncé on the stage would have probably witnessed the swift movement of her body choreography. Very amazing indeed. If opportunity was given to her she would have "borrowed" more fascinating skills from Nigeria. Something that would have added to her trade and memory. The people who hosted her never realised that the Afikpo women dancing troupe popularly known as "Nkwaumuagbogho" would have mesmerised Beyoncé to the core of her bone. The young Afikpo women, some of them of her age could have offered her some vital choreographic lessons she could have absorbed and incorporated into her natural skill.

These young Afikpo women display flexible hip movements and swift toe shuffling in an amazing fashion. They can tuck in their bellies, curve the frame of the bodies and push it forward and backward allowing the lobes of their buttocks to wiggle, and their hips and breasts to sway in rhythm with the melody and lyric of the music playing. This is the type choreographic ingredients that Beyoncé would have found awesome to borrow.

Madonna, the lady in the same trade with Bayonce benefited more from her trip to Malawi. She killed two birds with one stone. In Malawi she got the thirteen months old David Banda. While the arrangement for the adoption of the little boy was going on she took time off to get initiated into Malawi's traditional dancing technique. I watched with keen interest on the T.V. when Madonna was digging it out with a Malawian lady. She learned so fast that her dancing steps and loose leg movements, characteristic of African dance, tallied perfectly with that of her host instructor.

On returning back to her home in the U.K., Madonna may have moved into her private studio to perfect that Malawi dance she borrowed. The next thing would be for her to blend the pattern with her body choreography as to look Madonnish. She got the little David and learned the Malawi dance in one swoop. Watch out for her next dance on the stage you will observe the signature of the Malawi technique in her body choreography.

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