UNSEEN BENIN

The place to Explore Benin and its Culture

The Traditional Dances of Benin

Dancers from Benin

Dancers from Benin

Benin, a country with a multitude of ethnic group, has various interesting and unique traditional dances. Each dances can be linked to the heritage from which that ethnic group comes from. They all have specific characteristics and moves that are very pleasing to witness.

Here are the different the of traditional dances grouped based on regional department.

 

The Amazons of Benin – Dance

Click here to read more about the Amazons of Dahomey (Modern day Benin)

Department of Atlantic

Kpanouhoun: Performed everywhere across Benin, it is more prevalent in the Department of the Atlantic. It is done especially during special events such as wedding ceremony, graduation or when a soon-to-be bride engagement is being annouced.

Ogbon: Popular dance performed both during the festivities such as funeral ceremonies. It covers the entire Atlantic but is also found in other towns and villages in Benin. It is a dance attributed to ghosts called “Egoungoun”.

Sakpata Gambada, Hèbiosso and Atigali: These are all sacred dances. These dances are practiced not only during special events and are reserved to initiates.

 

Sakpata Dancers - Benin

Sakpata Dancers – Benin

Department of Mono

Agbadja, Atchanhoun, Avogan: These are dances of Mono are all alike. They are done especially during popular festivities and after a new harvest.

Avizinli: This dance is done during the wake of a funeral and only should take place at night.

Gambada, Djaguidi, Cocoussi: They are very brutal and evil dances. They are reserved for insiders that are initiated as the moves are considered to be sacred.

 

 

Department of L’Ouémé

Dancer from Benin

Dancers from Benin

Adjogan: This is a royal dance performed by the princes and princesses of this department during the festivities at the royal palace . The dancers do not wear clothes , but attach a cloth to the chest and hold an iron stick along which small metal disks are spinning and making chimes.

Kaka: This is a dance that has a dual purpose: for rejoicing and/or for ritual dance. Kaka is executed  with pieces of bamboo that is tapped against each other to get the rhythm. The dancer is also playing an instrument music which is made with bamboo.

Djanhoun: The dancers sit on small bamboo stools and they move to the rhythm of drums. The dance runs during any kinds of events and festivities.

Sato: This dance is executed only by fatherless and motherless civilians. The dancers move in circle around a large drum (We call it Tam Tam in Benin) that exceeds the height of the man and try to type the head of the drum with the help of a curved and by jumping up. It is the dance that happens specifically during funeral events.

Sato Dance in Benin 

 

Djeke and Gogo: Both dances happens especially on the day of the Epiphany .

Gangan and Akpala: The dances are performed mainly by the Yoruba ethnic group .

 

The Department of Zou

Dancer from Benin

Dancer from Benin

Zinli, Zato and Houngan: the dances are simmilar as the Avizinli dance that takes place in Mono.

Akonhoun and Atcha: Those dances are done by princesses of Abomey. To do this, they tie a cloth to cover their chest and the rest of their body and wear a multitude of pearls (depending on capacity) around the neck and wrist. They tattoo their chest, neck and back with kaolin powder (a white powder). This dance requires great flexibility of the body.

Toba and Tchinkounmè: These dances is done by listening to the sound coming from gourds that’s put in a bucket of water. By tapping the gourd, differemt sounds resonate and a song can be made.

Goumbé: It is a fast dance, requiring a lot of energy.

 

The Department of Atakora

Dancers from Benin

Dancers from Benin

Tipinti: The Tipinti is a dance that is performed during popular festivities. The dancers dress in little skirt made of beads with ankle bells. This dance is well performed by men than by women.

Kétékpé: The Kétékpé is performed in the region of Bassila during the moonlight and by young people of both sexes. The dance is also performed during any popular festivities

Goumbé: Goumbé is the dance that requires a lot of energy because it is performed with very striking and hard cordinations. It is done during popular events and all occasions of rejoicing.

The Department of Borgou

Teke: It is also called the stick dance as it is performed with stick in hand. The dancers have to tap the sticks and one can hear a rhythm from the clacking. Dancers are costumed wearing either “Chaya” or wear a traditional handmade cloth from the region while having their head wrapped into a turban.

Teke Dance in The North of Benin

Sinsinnou: The Sinsinnou is similar to the Teke dance but runs very slowly.

Kiaro: This is hunters’ Dance as well as the horse dance. This is also a dance that takes place in the region of Borgou and is performed during the “Gaani”, the festival of Joy that takes place every year.

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4 comments on “The Traditional Dances of Benin

  1. Pingback: The Culture and traditions of Beninese People | UNSEEN BENIN

  2. Vincent
    July 2, 2015

    That’s really wonderful I like African Culture

    • Leila Abdoulaye
      July 3, 2015

      Thank you Vincent. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it. And yes, African culture is so diverse and beautiful. Thank you for visiting Unseen Benin.

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