FANGA- LIBERIA

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FANGA DANCE, LIBERIA

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Created by a renowned Caribbean dance Pearl Primus and the National Danche Company of Liberia is an African dance style known as Fanga. This “welcome” dance is said to have originated in Liberia in West Africa, and is said to be performed to invoke the earth and the sky. In addition, during the early 1960’s a Nigerian drummer named Babatunde Olatunji is supposed to have created a song for this dance form. Furthermore, the lyric used for this song was written in the “Yoruba” language.

a. History/origin of the Fanga:

It was in 1959 when Caribbean dancer Pearl Primus travelled to Africa on a mission to teach African dancers the technique for making their dance forms more entertaining, and thereby making it more popular with the western consumers. It was during this trip that she visited Liberia and helped in creating and developing this dance form. Furthermore, Primus was also assisted by a performing arts company in Liberia called “Danche” in her endeavor to popularize this dance form.

b. Costumes used in the Fanga:

The costume worn by the performers depends on the gender of the performer, and they are as follows:

1. For females:

The costume worn includes a colourful long skirt, colourful shirt/t-shirt, and may also include a scarf worn on the head.

2. For males:

 The costume worn includes a colourful pyjama like trouser, and a shirt.

c. Music involved in the Fanga:

Typical “African” music is used in this dance style and therefore the basic musical instruments used are drums.

d. Training availability and technique involved in the Fanga:

In terms of technique, the dance involves swaying of the feet and hands to the rhythm of music played. In addition, the dancer needs to maintain a slightly bent posture while performing. As for training centers/schools, there many available in the United States of America since this “welcome” dance is extremely popular in this region, and was made popular by Pearl Primus, the creator of this dance style.

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