I am a lover of culture and traditions and this love transformed into passion have taken me to places for the purpose of learning the ways of people. In this piece, I try to share the little I know about the Tora dance and Takai of the people of Mole-Dagbon. I hope you find this piece educative. I am new to blogging and would appreciate if you can leave comments behind to help me improve and serve you better. You can also share the article on social media to get others informed about this wonderful cultural endeavour. Enjoy your time. Thank you.
The Tora dance
Tora is a game-like dance in which two dancers knock their buttocks together in time to the cadence moment in the drumming. Dancers form a line and take turns going out into the dance stage. Each dancer knocks twice. The dancer who is in the circle knocks with the next in line and then takes the place at the back of the line. Gradually, the dancer moves toward the front position and then goes out to have the next turn in the spotlight. Dancers sing songs in call-and-response format while they are on line.
The relationship between music and dance is very similar in Tora and Takai: dancers strike each other at a key time point in the recurring musical phrase. To get their timing, dancers especially listen to the gung-gong part. Drummers organize their play to dramatize the moment the dancers knock together.
Like Baamaaya, Tora dance and Takai have several sections that are performed in sequence like a medley or suite. Because it is exactly the same as in Takai, the music for Nyagboli is not presented here in the Tora section of the website. In contemporary performance contexts the slow-paced music of Ayiko accompanies the dancers’ as they process to the performance area. Ayiko does not have a History Story because it did not originate in Dagbon. Girls and young women usually perform Tora dance.
The Takai dance
Takai is one of the oldest drum rhythms of the Dagomba, and the story tells of how they came to be so close to the Mossi tribe. There was a war going on between the Dagomba and Mossi, and a Dagomba woman got lost in the bush and was eventually found by a Mossi hunter. Years later, when there was once again conflict between the Dagomba and Mossi, the woman’s history came to light, and because of this connection they halted the fighting. Combined, the drum language for all the parts says “chief says listen, stop the fight.”