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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Signifying systems in traditional African theatre aesthetics: the 'Girinya' ritual dance of the Tiv people of Nigeria
Author:Doki, Gowon Ama
Periodical:African Performance Review
Geographic term:Nigeria
Abstract:Several theatre traditions exist in Africa that are not recognized and registered as theatres in the strict professional sense of the word. The implication is that serious and rich theatre traditions may soon go extinct if nothing is done in the form of research to try and patronize and thus preserve these traditions. This paper is of the view that there exist exciting theatre traditions in Africa that use a wide range of sign systems to communicate and pass across the aspiration and cultural ethos of Africans to the world. The hope therefore is that scholars will devote some time and effort to the study of some of these performances, one of which is the Girinya ritual dance theatre of the Tiv people of Nigeria. Girinya is performed at two different levels: the social and the ritual. As a ritual dance, performed to honour departed or fallen warriors, Girinya is richer and more encompassing. The article describes the various stages of the ritual. In particular, it analyses Girinya in semiotic terms, that is, it tries to explain the meanings conveyed to the audience, thereby distinguishing different semiotic codes. It outlines the sociocultural relevance of the ritual dance and the impact on it of recent social changes. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]