Music, Seduction, and New Beginnings: The Ikorodo Maiden Dance of Nsukka

Ruth Opara, Benedict Agbo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Why are conversations about seduction, the female body, and choosing partners central at a funeral during the Ikorodo music performance? How does Ikorodo enact the act of seduction? How has the act of seduction and Ikorodo performance practice evolved? How do Ikorodo performances express the indigenous conceptions of seductions? These are the questions this article addresses to reveal—how Ikorodo dance provides a platform for new beginnings and enactments of Nsukka Igbo societal gender ideologies. Drawing from indigenous conceptions of seduction, histories, practitioners’ and audiences’ narratives, archival materials, existing scholarship, and Ikorodu performance practice as experienced and collected during fieldwork, this article explores how Ikorodo dance—a traditional musical genre well known and performed in Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria—maintains its primary function of providing a space where maiden dancers utilize music to find life partners even when performed at a funeral. Emphasis on the male gaze interrogates the dominant idea that music gives African women agency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)497-519
Number of pages23
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Music


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