Most African dances origins from social or religious traditions. For an outsider it can take a while to get the meaning of the dance and movements, but with a little explanation you will soon learn that the African dances offers more than pure entertaining.

In most of Africa, history has been passed orally from generation to generation. This is one of the reasons that singing and dancing has been so important to communicate culture and background. Dances are used at nearly every social, cultural or religious event. Sometimes they tell the story of a people and other dances give moral "instructions" on how to live a good and harmonic life.

Cynthia Lønborg has studied and performed dances from most corners of the African continent (as presented in the United African Ballet of Denmark, 1999). She mixes her African dance schooling with inspiration from Western dances, hip-hop and even Salsa. Originally Cynthia started out performing the many traditional dances from Ghana. Here are a few words about some of the most common dances, their meanings and origins.


Fumefume is a social dance from the Ga people of Ghana. It is one of the most popular dances in the Accra Region. Fumefume involves graceful movements, exciting jumps and kicks. The movements comes from Ga traditional Religious and ceremonial dances.

Tradtional African dances

Atsia ("showing off")

Atsia is an example of how dances can be used to bring the youth together for social entertainment . The dance glows of youthfulness, good fun and joy being alive. lt is originally performed in moonlight among the Ewe people.

Anyako Atsia

This popular circle dance from the Ewe features songs about morality, community, character, and pride. The dance event is primarily social, and a chance for people to express themselves through dance & song. A bit of flirting is often also a part of the dance.

Kadodo / Adzohu / Adzogbo a series of dances in which the men show off their agility, toughness and virtuosity. It comes from the Volta Region of Ghana. Dating from the early days of European occupation, Adzohu originally functioned as a spiritual preparation to go to war. Today it is more a cultural and social event.


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© Cynthia Lønborg / - Web and photos: Crawfurd Media