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Ekpo Masquerade

Ekpo masquerade is a Nigerian dance performed by male dancers in elaborate costumes, which include long fur coats, masks, and swords. A very-fast tempo rhythm is created through the simultaneous use of multiple drums. The dancers perform footwork and stepping patterns that match the drumming rhythm. Additionally, participants will move their arms in circular motions to emphasis the weapons or props they may be holding. The dances are generally performed in small groups of three to seven participants. The masquerade commemorates dancers’ ancestors in communal festivals.

What are the origins of the activity abroad and in Canada?

Ekpo masquerade dancing originated in the Southern part of Nigeria. Its exact origins in Canada and the GTA are not clear, but it was likely introduced by Nigerian immigrants.

Who takes part?

Males of diverse ages and Nigerian heritage.

When does it occur / How often do you take part?

In the GTA, Ekpo masquerade is performed at cultural festivals, such as the Iriji Festival.

Are there any organized clubs, groups, organizations or leagues?

Igbo Union of Canada

Cultural Significance

The dance is a significant form of physical culture for some members of the Nigerian community.

Is there anything else we should know?



  • Igbo Union of Canada
    415 Oakdale Rd
    Toronto, ON M3N 1W7

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