Societal Perception and Implications of Contemporary Funeral Dance

A Study of Apams Undertakers’ Funeral


  • Nicolas Chielotam Akas Department of Theatre and Film Studies, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka


Dance as a communicative art form has diverse meanings, functions and interpretations depending on how it is used and its essence wherever it exists. This paper examines the sociocommunicative essence of dance movements of funeral undertakers (Apams) towards interpreting what gave rise to such creative choreographic act and its intended functions. Objectively, it is clear that dance is an indispensible art form in most occasions in Nigeria and beyond. But its sociological implications are based on the societal values of the deceased, the economic status of the deceased’s family and the societal assessments of the deceased’s deeds, all these are what this paper sets out to resolve . In order to understand the societal perception of ‘Apams Undertakers’, content analysis was used as a research methodology to examine the implications of the ‘Apams Undertakers’ dance form, context
and style during funerals. It could be established that the communicative essence of dance has made dance a sociocommercial venture in the sense that it is used during various occasions especially in funerals to showcase aesthetics instead of arousing empathy. It also increases the ‘smiling to the bank’ syndrome of those who use dance as a commercial tool in ‘Apams Undertakers’. However, although the level of artistic aesthetics in ‘Apams Undertakers’ dance is commendable, their services should be made to accommodate the poor. Nevertheless, the deceased can still be buried curried peacefully without unnecessary waste of resources during funerals. Conclusively, through interpretative and communicative values of the various dance movements by Apams Undertakers during funerals, people understand the social status of the person being buried (the deceased)