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The Girinya Dance Theatre of the Tiv People of Nigeria: an Aesthetic Evaluation

Author(s): Jacob Manase Agaku

Journal: International Journal of Intangible Heritage
ISSN 1975-3586

Volume: 3;
Start page: 29;
Date: 2008;
Original page

‘Residual theatre’ is used to refer to mean ritual performances that are still enacted but which have lost their original purpose. Such performances can still be enjoyed and can still play a role in promoting social cohesion and a sense of identity, so long as the performers, and the audience, recognise and accept the way they have changed. The Girinya dance of the Tiv people of Nigeria, which was originally a war dance, is a case in point. In the Tiv dance aesthetic, men’s dances should be vigorous and energetic, as the Girinya dance is, but whereas in the past the dance was about the waywarriors should behave in battle, it is now about continuity and renewal. I have tried to describe and evaluate this aesthetic and the way it has been adapted to have a new meaning within the changing culture of the Tiv people.

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