Transmission of Anlo-Ewe Dances in Ghana and in Britain: Investigating, Reconstructing and Disseminating Knowledge Embodied in the Music and Dance Traditions of Anlo-Ewe People in Ghana

  • Sylvanus Kwashie Kuwor

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Among the Anlo-Ewe of Ghana, dance functions essentially as a pivot around which indigenous cultural practices revolve. Anlo-Ewe music and dance tradition which is the focus of this study, serves as a dynamic tool in the transmission of indigenous knowledge, skills, values and virtues. In addition to being a repository of Anlo-Ewe knowledge dance provides the avenue through which dancers, musicians, story tellers and visual artists are able to document, preserve and transmit indigenous knowledge and reenact the historical, socio-cultural and political structure of the Anlo-Ewe. Twenty-first century global cultural transformation in the midst of constant human migration continues to influence Anlo-Ewe cultural forms. Commodification of dance has affected the educational and cultural function of Anlo-Ewe dance and its related arts and continues to reduce them to mere entertainment activities. Due to these challenges, some Anlo- Ewe youths in Ghana and in Britain are gradually being separated from their cultural heritage and therefore, losing cultural identity.

    In view of the above, this study responds to the need to examine the elements and functions of Anlo-Ewe dance in the transmission of indigenous knowledge and values to serve as a source of information to help policy makers to create and promote the awareness of the use of Anlo-Ewe knowledge and values among Anlo-Ewe youths and scholars in Ghana, Britain and the diaspora. It investigates the indigenous knowledge and values embedded in Anlo-Ewe dance and the extent to which these cultural forms can be harnessed in building contemporary society in both the indigenous and the international settings.

    Therefore, this thesis focuses on the dance tradition of the Anlo-Ewe people in Ghana, its emergence in Britain as an art form in cross-cultural education as well as its dynamics or processes of change within the indigenous and international settings. It uses fieldwork including auto-ethnography and focuses on my own practice and the 21 years of operations by the British funded ‘Adzido Pan-African Dance Ensemble’ (1984-2005), a Ghanaian group that brought Anlo-Ewe dances to Britain.

    Through the lenses of key concepts including heritage, aesthetics, identity, nationalism and representation, I explore the fundamental elements of Anlo-Ewe dance, its use and significance as well as how it can be harnessed to serve the needs of contemporary multicultural society.
    Date of Award2013
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Roehampton
    SupervisorAndrée Grau (Supervisor), Stacey Prickett (Supervisor) & Babatunde Omoniyi (Supervisor)

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