Egbabonelimwin, the Dance that tells the story of Esanland in Edo State.
I have studied and have tried as best as I can to illustrate the performance of the dances from the corners of the Esan tribe, maybe because I am fascinated by them, and as a poet could demonstrate his or her lineage through imagines, I am working on living scenes, real life experience to count upon, and having tried the stunt, the dance tell of my story
As the igbaboneliwin waltz past the walls in dance I imagined me within and see, perchance An Esan poet that looks exactly like him Dancing in the custom in perfect harmony In a land where pages live in oratory
The Igbabonelimi as the masquerade is called in Ishan or it Edo name of Egbabonelimwin is a social dance from the Esan people of Edo State, It is one of the most popular dances in the region. It involves graceful movements, somersaults, and a lot of flips, exciting jumps and kicks all to the tune of the beating tom tom.
It is an all men’s affair, and women are forbidden to venture within the dance circle, and like all dances in Africa traditional cultures the egbabonelimwin dances origins are from the social and religious traditions of the people.
For an outsider it can take a while to get the meaning of the dance and movements, but with a little explanation they will soon learn that the dances offers more than pure entertaining, it rhymes about the event in question and as you watch the steps you can follow the beat
I followed the beat… And wrote of the dance at a funeral feast Of the masquerade with its multicolored parasol
And I became the man in masquerade Rhymes of a hundred pieces into a gear And as I do that I like to scream I am Esan…I am Esan For their expressive power And the features of masked performance I like my scream
Our singing and dancing has been so important to communicate our culture and background, the dances are used at nearly every social, cultural or religious event.
The Egbabonelimwin dances are examples of how dances can be used to bring the youth together for social entertainment in any African villages. The dance glows of youthfulness, good fun and celebrates the joy of being alive or the life of these departed. It is originally performed in the day on open ground, mostly on sandy surface to avoid slipping.
The people created a wall with their body self Surrounded the masquerade in the square Who flip flip flip flip to the tom tom to dance to the death of the ancestors Slow dance with rhymes in the market place In a dance rituals to thank the gods, Song sang for protection from bad spirits And still the heart which starts to race To the steps taken by the dancing masquerade