Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/494

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436 Collecta7iea.

and asked us if we would like to see the dances more distinctly, as he was afraid that we had seen very little of them the night before : we thanked him and said yes.

The first dance, called Ugulu or Sakwadi, was danced by one man only. He turned circles, keeping perfect time to the band of beaded calabashes and drums. The second, Okele, was rather more interesting, as it was danced by two men; one had a fan in his hand, and the other had his hands clasped in front of him. The man with the fan went through certain steps which the man with the hands clasped had to copy exactly ; when he failed another took his place. The third dance was called Ohogo, and was most remarkable. Fifteen men, three with native bells and the rest with beaded calabashes, took part in it. They were scantily dressed and had bells and rattUng seeds round their arms and ankles. A man with a bell (evidently their conductor), with one with a beaded calabash, were sur- rounded by the other thirteen in a perfect circle. At a signal from their conductor the thirteen ran round in a circle, while all beat their calabashes and bells; suddenly they stopped, turned towards each other in couples and saluted each other ; at a signal they then started off again, changing their step as it pleased their conductor, who seemed to have perfect control over their movements. Then at a signal all danced inwards towards the centre of the circle, and crowded themselves over their now crouching conductor and his companion. At a beat of his bell all withdrew and continued dancing in a circle. The many and complicated steps, all perfectly accomplished, placed this dance a long way above the general average native dance, and we were more than astonished to find how perfectly trained these dancers were. We were told that in the olden days the slightest error in public in such a dance was punished by death.

II. A Ladies' Dance. On the 2nd August, 1903, the chief, Obaseki, gave a dance to which he invited the officers then present in Benin City. This dance was given in one of the rooms in the chief's house. The room was square m shape, the roof sloping inwards towards the centre which was open, forming something between a Roman