Semiotics in indigenous dance performances: Ekeleke dance of Ekwe people of Nigeria as paradigm

  • Nicholas Chielotam Akas
  • Martha Chidimma Egenti


The potency of the use of semiotics in dance is no longer a strange knowledge. Scholarly interpretations on the use of semiotics, in our indigenous dances, present semiotic movement in dance as a reflective pointer in upholding the communal essence of any given society both in myth, customs and legendary experiences. The problematic questions in this paper are as follows: of what essence is the use of semiotics in Ekeleke dance? Where did the use of semiotic movement in the dance (Ekeleke) emerge from? And, what is the interpretative and communicative essence of the use of semiotic movement in dance? In order to answer these hydra-headed questions, this paper focuses on the positive use of semiotics in Ekeleke dance and its communicative ability on the choreographer, the dancers and the audience. To achieve the interpretative essence needed in this paper, the ethnographic framework was used as content analysis on the dance Ekeleke. Our findings reveal the originality, sacredness and cultural sustainability portrayed in the dance through the use of communicative semiotic movements. In conclusion, the communicative essence of semiotics in Ekeleke dance performance presents Ekwe people; situated in Isu local government Area of Imo State, as a people of traceable source of origin and not as mere cultural entertainers.


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eISSN: 1597-474X