Electa Behrens

Publication Date

Spring 2000


This study set up a system of examinig traditional dances to determine their potential as cross-cultural communicators. It looked at the dances of Baamaya and Tora of the Dagomba on four levels:cultural, aesthetic, artistic, and physical. The researcher studied with two teachers, one dancer and one drummer, learned the dances, made the custumes,performed them in a variety of situations, interviewed drummers, dancers, and observers and observed the dances in many contexts. The results showed that Dagomba dances have changed a lot over time to incorporate new audiences and functions of dance.Some changes are successful and others are not. Americans appreciate the changes which increases the artistic and physical value of the dance. Dagombas, while they too apprciate these changes, require that the dance remain true to its cultural roots and aesthetic artistic and physical value. Bamaaya has been more successful in finding this balance than Tora.