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THE WONDER KIDS: EKIMINI CULTURAL DANCE TROUPE

By: Imaobong Abia

Dance is one of the best art forms of expression. People gyrate in order to celebrate, commemorate or to perform a ritual. When one talks about the culture of a tribe, it encompasses the art, food, music, language, and even the cultural dance form. Historic and traditional dance dates back to thousands of years. Nigeria has varieties of folk and tribal dances across its many tribes.

Ekimini dancers on display

The Ekimini cultural dance troupe is one of the beautiful wonder out of Nigeria. The Ekemini Cultural Dance Troupe, is of the Ibibio tribe. They use their music to mimic popular tracks well known in public domain or use the instruments to tell a story. They have been a regular feature at high profile events in Nigeria and have travelled around the world displaying their God-given musical talents. The member of troupe aged 1-9 years old display their musical dexterity using local instruments to hold their audience spell bound thereby promoting Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage.

HISTORY OF EKIMINI DANCE TROUPE

The Ekimini cultural dance troupe was formed twenty years ago by Mr. Patrick Idiong who went about recruiting young teenagers from the age of 5 – 18 years organizing them into a band of twelve drummers and dancers. These children were selected from the remote communities in Akwa Ibom state and they passed through sessions to become professionals. Mr Idiong as the producer, teacher and chaperon believed that best time to activate the potential within oneself is at a tender age, in order for one to adapt the intricacies of expressions of songs, drama, dance as well as even traditional instruments. Seeing the young ones exhibit amazing artistic prowess convinced Mr Idiong to offer his best of his time to assist the children express what God has given to them naturally in the field of music.

A complete musical performance showcase by the Ekimini dance troupe

The cultural troupe has never disappointed when it comes to their craftsmanship using the locally made xylophones. The older xylophonist echoes the intense melodic twanging by the young performers. Stable bass lines booms from seated drummers, one of whom beats the drum he sits on, with his right hand while beating the skin drum held between his knees. They are noted for thrilling the audience with their superb skills dishing out audible popular tunes from various musicians. The songs are released in repetitive cascades and undulating rhythms, yet concord is achieved by varying the acoustic levels and inserting surprise stops and starts, leaving the audience no choice but to sing and clap in excitement and admiration. Children in the audience are always captivated by the spell of the melody drawing them out of their seats to dance.

The Ekemini cultural troupe not only impress in their music display, but also in their style of fashion. In every outing, they feature they display a colourful cultural attire that corresponds with the event of the day, and brings out the beauty of the stage.

The Ekimini dance group has made a lot of impact in the entertainment industry in Nigeria and that way, so many performance has put the troupe on the global map. Statistics indicates that majority of the younger generation are being fuelled by the artistic display of the troupe to pursuit music and dancing. It is the belief that African cultural dance is not just about promoting the art of traditional entertainment, to the world. The opportunity to take interest in Africa culture. However this young talented kids are always eager to show people what the founder of the group Mr Idiong is still on the go, seeking out young children who possesses the passion to artistically perform and ready to embrace the Nigerian culture.

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