Nudity, morality and change management: A study of “women of hope” dance performance

  • Nicholas Chielotam Akas


Nudity in African performance is perceived by some as something barbaric, taboo and mundane that need not be discussed at all or seen by children.  Some African parents believe that colonization has really put an end to any form of nudity, no matter the message or reasons surrounding it. But nudity  existed in Africa of pre-colonial era in cultural activities. The research questions in this article are: What is the symbolic essence of nudity in dance? What  are the factors that give rise to such nudity in the dance and are there cultural implications of nudity in the dance? When these questions are answered,  the audience will understand that indigenous African choreographers do not choreograph in abstraction; rather their environment contributes to their  working metaphor. Based on the objective of this paper, the essence of nudity in the dance, “Women of Hope”, is of great potency. This is so because it is  a means used by women in the dance to express themselves on how they are being raped, robbed, and brutalized by unknown men in the community.  The study discovers that, ironically, the communicative potency of nudity in the dance is for caution and signal for total revenge. From the finding, in Igbo  cosmology, women are taken serious whenever they decide to do extra-ordinary things as going nude. The use of nudity in this dance is highly  semio-communicative when interpreted beyond its moral potency. In order to understand the communicative potency imbedded in the dance, content  analysis would be used as qualitative research methodology towards interpreting and understanding the choreographers’ motivation. In conclusion,  nudity in its exposed form should not be ruled out totally as something barbaric; rather people should try to understand the reasons behind such  exposure so that understanding the message in the dance as an expressive act can be accomplished.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2971-6748
print ISSN: 0189-9562