Invented Dances, Or, How Nigerian Musicians Sculpt the Body Politic

Dotun Ayobade*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Popular dances encapsulate the aliveness of Africa's young. Radiating an Africanist aesthetic of the cool, these moves enflesh popular music, saturating mass media platforms and everyday spaces with imageries of joyful transcendence. This essay understands scriptive dance fads as textual and choreographic calls for public embodiment. I explore how three Nigerian musicians, and their dances, have wielded scriptive prompts to elicit specific moved responses from dispersed, heterogenous, and transnational publics. Dance fads of this kind productively complicate musicological approaches that insist on divorcing contemporary African music cultures from the dancing bodies that they often conjure. Taken together, these movements enlist popular culture as a domain marked by telling contestations over musical ownership and embodied citizenship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-22
Number of pages18
JournalDance Research Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Nigerian music
  • body politic
  • dance fads
  • popular embodiment
  • youth expressivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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