Thursday, October 31, 2013

Four Videos Of Atilogwu Dance (Igbo) Nigeria, West African Dance)

Edited by Azizi Powell

Update: June 17, 2017

This is Part I of a two part series on traditional Igbo (Nigeria, West African dances from Nigeria, West Africa. This post provides information about the Atilogwu dance and showcases four videos of that dance.

Click for Part II f this series. Part II showcases eight additional Igbo dance videos.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, cultural, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Excerpt #1:
From "The History of Ezeagu Atilogwu" Posted by admin on November 17, 2011
"Ezeagu is endowed with a rich cultural heritage, and traditional festivals and dances announce the arrival and departure of the various seasons of the year. Ogugo-Chi, Akanu, Oku Owa-Ito, Ibono Okochi, Ibono Udu-Mii, Mgba Ndi-Omu, Mgba Une n’Une, Owhuwhu-Ji and Mgba Ogwu are principal festivals, while the international-famed Ezeagu Atilogwu dance remains the cynosure at traditional dance jamborees in Enugu State and in other parts of Nigeria...

Atilogwu is an amalgamation or montage of five dances – Anam, Ogwulogwu, Anaku, Ochanja and Adunjanja. For some others, it is that of Mgbaga, Ogwulogwu, Otiokpokpo, Ochufulu and Egwu-Igba. It dominates every other dance in Ezeaguland because of its magnificent rhythms and physical acrobatic movements formed from elaborations and modifications of the afore-mentioned dances. Other areas that feature the Atilogwu include: Ugbanu, Ebenebe, Igbo-Ukwu and the people of the Anambra Basin, but Ezeagu people have passed the art from one group to another so that it is now synonymous with them...

The first unplanned outing ceremony – debut – (i chifuta egwu) of the Ezeagu Atilogwu, Lagos, took place circa July 1948, during a condolence visit...

The Atilogwu became the most talked about traditional dance in Nigeria. The style, sequence and eloquent movements of the dancers thrilled spectators who wondered whether there was magic in the dance. Newspapers, Reporters, and Commentators saw and reported the dance in different ways. Atilogwu dancers’ pictures were used for both postcards and Christmas greeting cards. Any occasion that was not ended with the Atilogwu was regarded as unsuccessful”...

Excerpt #2 [Added June 17, 2018]
Atilogwu Dance of the Igbo People
September 27, 2017

The Igbo people are one of the three largest ethnic groups in Nigeria. They inhabit the eastern region of the country and are over 32 million in population. The Igbos (Ndi’ Igbo) are bound together by their history, cultures and traditions which include dressing, beliefs, religion, dance, et cetera. Dancing takes higher percentage of the entertainment and spiritual (religion) aspects of the Igbo culture. The Igbos believe that dancing performs more functions other than entertainment in the society, such as spiritual cleansing of the land, training of teenagers to keep fit, preserving history and so on. Of all the traditional dances in Igbo land, Atilogwu is the most popular, widely performed and one of the oldest.

Atilogwu is an amazing youth dance which involves vigorous body movements and a lot of acrobatics. Only agile youths can perform the Atilogwu dance because of its energy sapping moves, stunts and several rigorous training. Other dances in Igbo land (ala Igbo) include: Egwu Ogene, Ode, Odebara, Nkwa, Mkpokiti, Akwunechenyi, Nkwa Umuagbogho, Nkwa Nwite and so on.

The origin of the name ‘Atilogwu’ is traced back to the time when the dance was initiated. Spectators were amazed at the skills showcased by the vibrant Atilogwu dancers which prompted them to ask themselves “is this magic?” and thus the dance got its name, Atilogwu which literally means “is this magic?”. It is worthy of note that Atilogwu dance was derived from the conglomeration of five traditional Igbo dances named: Anam, Ogwulogwu, Anaku, Ochanja and Adunjanja. The exact period when Atilogwu dance came into existence remains unknown but the dance has evolved over the years. New steps and stunts have been added to make it more lively and enticing. Atilogwu has earned both local and international recognition and has been performed all over the world.

The Atilogwu dance is accompanied with fast and rich music produced by different traditional musical instruments such as: drums, a flute-like instrument known as opi, a metal gong called ogene and Ichaka, a beaded gourd. The steps of the dancers tally with the rhythm of the drums and the opi which also dictate the dance steps or moves to the dancers.
The Atilogwu dance is performed on important occasions like coronation, festival, and marriage. It remains one of the oldest and most popular traditional dances in Nigeria.

Thanks for reading,


(These videos are presented in chronological order with the videos with the oldest dates posted first.)

Example #1: Atilogwu dance

Seun Awobajo, Published on May 11, 2016

The award winning children dance theater group in African' "footprints of david art Nigeria" beautifully express the Atilogwu Dance in freedom park lagos.#2013
This video replaces a previous video which is still available, but isn't showing properly.

Example #2: atilogwu dance

Taiwo Soyebo, Published on Jan 7, 2015
this dance was Directed, choreographed and produced by Taiwo Soyebo a graduate of theater art and music
Chika Obi, 2015
"Atilogwu is one of the best Igbo cultural dance so far.
This video replaces a previous video that was featured in this post.

Example #3: atilogwu dancers.mpg

Livingcultures, Uploaded on May 31, 2011

Example #4: ATILOGWU

GOLD UGOJI, Published on Apr 15, 2013

Blackbones performing atilogwu dance

Thanks to all those who are featured in these videos and thanks to the publishers of these videos on YouTube. Thanks also to those who are quoted in this post.

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Visitor comments are welcome.


  1. videos do not play.
    typical nigerian technology

    1. Anonymous, thanks for visiting this blog.

      I'm sorry that these videos didn't work when you tried to watch them.

      I hope that they work in your area if you try them again.