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Notable Dance Groups in Calabar and Surrounding Communities of Cross River state

Dance is a mixture of the various kinds of rhythmic movements of parts of the body to a particular kind of music. Dance in most cases or scenarios are a means of displaying joy or celebration of a particular occasion. In our country, people dance for lots of purposes; football supporters dance when they are rejoicing a goal or trying to generally cheer their players on the pitch, people also dance in church as a way of praising God during the praise and worship session. In Nigeria, we are happy people and as a result of that we have various kind of dances spread over the various states of the federation and various dance groups have been present since time immemorial for this purpose. This article seeks to discuss some of the top dance groups in Yakurr region and its axis of the Cross river state.

There are a considerable number of dance groups within the Calabar axis and beyond and they include the following:

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(a) Nyok

This group are found within the Efik speaking parts of Cross river state. The Nyok dance has been in existence for quite a long time and its beginning can be traced as far back as when the Efiks first had a clash with another riverine tribe from Efiat and the Efiks were victorious in that encounter and from that period, the Nyok dance has continued from then till now.

The’ Nyok’ is basically a social dance that involves the movement of the legs by the dancers to provide various rhytms to the beat. Nyok as a word means to ‘settle ‘.

The Nyok dance is basically done by mainly fishermen and those staying around the Calabar river.

The dance is a warrior dance that is accompanied by various acrobatic movements because it practically portrays a fishing expedition.

Due to the acrobatic movements being displayed, one will understand why the dance group consists of mainly men.

The dance has become a dance of celebration for practically all kinds of occasion in recent times from just a mere fishing expedition celebration to a birthday dance and even traditional weddings.

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(b) Ndam

This dance group have their origins around the Yakurr region of Cross river state.

The Ndam dance however goes as far back as the primitive periods of the early century when the people used just ‘Raffia’ as a piece of clothing.

The dance is mainly done during festival occasions and the group consists of male and female dancers. A typical festival where the Ndam is being performed is during the great and spectacular international Leboku festival.

It is also done during the coronation of Kings or chiefs and also during birthday celebrations.


(c) Ndebe

The Ndebe dance can be found in Ikom local government area of Cross river state. The dance is basically a traditional war dance of the people of NDE in Ikom region.

The dance is carried out before the warriors proceed on a battle and when they return victorious after the war.

Due to the beauty of the dance, the dance became not just a war dance but a dance of celebration for various occasions carried out within the region.

Due to the fact that the dance is a display of strength and valor, it is carried out only by men.


(d) Ekpinokpere

The Ekpinokpere dance plies its trade mainly in the Wenakom area of the Akpamkpa local government area of Cross river state.

The dance is mainly for ladies who haven’t been married yet. It is filled with a lot of rhythmic movements and highlights a vast array of costumes.

They are mainly found during traditional wedding ceremonies and some other celebration within the region.


(e) Abekpa

This dance can be found in Obubra local government area of Cross river state. It is a dance that is populated by males and highlights the rich culture of the Obubra area.


(f) Mbin

The Mbin dance is traced specifically to Yakurr local government area of Cross river state. The dance is believed to be mainly for ritual purposes and is carried out by both male and female. The dance is filled with loads of music and dance. It is part of the ritual.


(g) Ewe

The Efik is one tribe in Cross river that is quite notable for their various scintillating dance moves and this is one of the dances that can be found in the Calabar region. This dance is also being carried out by unmarried females of the region. The dance is considered a ceremonial dance and is performed exclusively at the rich count of the Obong of Calabar.


(h) Monikim

This dance is traceable to the Ikom local government area of Cross river state. They are found specifically among the Ejagbam people of Cross river state. They also stretches as far as Obubra, Southern Ogoja and the Western Cameroon that share boundaries with Nigeria and Ekang in the Oban hills. The dance is characterised by unmarried female dancers. The dance is carried out in various celebrations and festivals. However if you really want to see the Monikim on display, your best bet is the Ikom New Yam festival that is celebrated yearly by every first Saturday of September and you will see the beautiful Monikim dancers on display. It’s a sight you really wouldn’t want to miss. The dance can also be witnessed in traditional marriages that are celebrated within the region and the whole of Cross river state.


(I)  Abang

This is the last dance that we shall be taking a look at in this article. The dance can be found in the Efik speaking area of Cross river state. The dance is characterized by the presence of unmarried females and the dance is believed to be close to NDEM; a goddess of the sea. The dancers are adorned with white apparels as a means of signifying the purity of the mind and the body.


The state of Cross river is quite popular for its rich taste in culture and tourism. The various festivals that are being carried out in the state can acclaim it’s high attendance rates to the quality of dance and costumes on display which the tourists can’t seem to get enough of. If you are looking for the best of quality dance moves that will leave you wanting more, visit a region in Calabar during one of its festive periods and you definitely wouldn’t be disappointed.

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Precious Austin

Austin Precious is a Legal Practitioner and a Content Developer at InfoGuideNigeria.com. InfoGuide Nigeria is a team of Resource Persons and Consultants led by Ifiokobong Ibanga. Page maintained by Ifiokobong Ibanga. If you need a personal assistant on this topic, kindly contact us.

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