Frank Gunderson says that in Tanzania, many cultures have their traditional dances.

The Tanzanian people are an ethnic group that lives in Tanzania. Gunderson adds that they have a rich culture and their traditional dances reflect this way of life.

Ngoma traditional dance

Frank Gunderson FSU says that the Ing’oma dance is performed by many of the Tanzanian people and it’s usually done during social gatherings or celebrations because it’s a joyous occasion. The Ing’oma dance is similar to a variety of eastern and central African dances, such as the malipenga of people from Malawi and the mganda of people from Tanzania’s Ruvuma region.

As Gunderson observes, there is a military theme evident in the titles and uniforms of the performers, such as major, commander, and corporal. A special dancing rite occurs during the dry season when host associations invite guest associations clearings, and Ngoma dance competitions are watched by tens of thousands of people. Typically, alliances are formed at the village level.

Samba and magosi

Samba and magosi are two major traditional dances performed by youths in the Nyakusa community. They are performed on different occasions, such as weddings and funerals.

Frank Gunderson FSU explains that the youths in the Nyakusa community perform these dances wearing their traditional clothes. The males wear a white dress with a red cloth wrapped around their waist, while the females wear a colorful dress with a white cloth wrapped around their waist. The dancers dance to the sound of drums and bells. This can be heard from far away distances.

Ipenenga and Mwambulo

According to Gunderson, Ipenenga and Mwambulo are dances that are performed by men between the ages of 25 to 40 years. The two dances go together and are performed at any social event or gathering. They both have different meanings, but they can be used as a way to express appreciation for something or somebody.  Frank Gunderson adds that when rice production is high, they are normally performed. In celebration of abundant crop production, it is a sign of victory.

Interesting facts about African traditional dances

Frank Gunderson FSU mentions that African traditional dances are a great way to express the culture. They are a way of life and they are not just for entertainment.

The common African traditional dance styles include:

– The Hausa Dance is performed by three dancers who hold their bodies upright and move their feet in a highly stylized manner.

– The Wodaabe Dance is performed by males who make themselves up with white chalk, red paint, and decorated clothes.

– The Dinka Dance is performed by two or more people at a time, usually in lines of four or more rows.

– The Yoruba Dance is performed with the arms held out to the side, hands gripping one another’s wrists and turning in circles to the left or right, depending on the direction of travel.

Frank Gunderson teaches at the Florida State University College of Music, Department of Musicology. He earned a B.A. in Music from Evergreen State College (WA), an M.A. with a concentration in World Music, and a Ph.D. with a concentration in Ethnomusicology. The National Endowment for the Humanities, Fulbright-Hays, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation have all awarded Frank Gunderson for his research. (he has recently been awarded a Fulbright Distinguished Chair Award, 2021-2022.