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The act of painting is normally referred to as the application/introduction of colour to a surface like canvas, wall, board and human body with the aid of brush, pallet knife, among other tools. In general terms, the feet is basically meant for walking but not much attention has been given to it as a painting tool or vehicle for colour application. The feet furthermore, as a valuable and conceptual tool combined with symbolic and metaphorical content, the appropriation of feet as process and footprints as product in painting, holds promise of immense artistic possibilities. This studio project explored movement and footprints in agogo-agbaja dance as a creative resource in painting. The research aimed at problematising normative notions of painting and the conventional techniques at the disposal of the average painter. By appropriating the dance steps of the agogo-agbaja dance as a possible instrument for the orchestration colour painting, the research explored how spontaneity as well as accident and design can make for evocative and expressive visual experience. In addition to highlighting the viability of feet as an unconventional painting tool, the studio outcomes in its aesthetic richness, also highlighted how the footprints can function as a metaphor for narrating life experiences. Also explored is the twin and complementary rhythms of dance and music and how they can be captured in the after-dance footprints as frozen graphic register of the concluded dance activity






                                                      TABLE OF CONTENT

    CHAPTER                                                                                                                             PAGE

    CHAPTER ONE ————————————————————————————-1

Background of the Study —————————————————————————–1

Statement of the problem——————————————————————————3

Aims of the research———————————————————————————–4

Significance of the study—————————————————————————–5


Scope of the study————————————————————————————–6


    CHAPTER TWO (LITERATURE REVIEW) ————————————————-7

Literature Review————————————————————————————–7

    CHAPTER THREE——————————————————————————–12

     Pre-Studio Research and Studio Experience —————————————————-12

Process ————————————————————————————————12

Preparation of painting surface———————————————————————18

Painting medium/colour application————————————————————–19

Technical Approach———————————————————————————21

Types of Dance steps——————————————————————————–22

Sequential dance steps——————————————————————————–22

Random/Staccato dance steps————————————————————————23

Sequential and staccato dance———————————————————————–25


 CHAPTER FOUR (DANCE AS A CREATIVE RESOURCE FOR THE               PAINTER) ——————————————————————————————–28


  CHAPTER SIX (CONCLUSION) —————————————————————-57











                                                             CHAPTER ONE



Painting is a field of study and equally an aspect of fine art that is committed to the application of paint, pigment, colour or other media to a surface to enhance the sense of vision and aesthetics. Colour is commonly applied to the base with the use of conventional tool like, brush, pallet-knife and some other unconventional tools like hand, feet, hair and many more. The support of a painting could be the surface of walls, paper, canvas, glass, wood and other materials such as sand, clay, gold-leaf among others.

Different types of paintings are identified by the processes involve in executing them, the medium/pigment used, and  also by the general working characteristics of the paint such as viscosity, solubility, drying time and so on. Some examples of these paints and styles are oil, pastel, water colour, ink, collage, mosaic, body painting/art and others. Body painting/art is the type of painting that is made with the use of any part of the body as a vehicle in applying the pigment on to the surface.

            This study is an adaptation of movement and footprints in agogo-agbaja dance as a painting technique. Since it has to do with dance, it is therefore necessary to know the meaning of dance according to some authors:

Allie (2013) defined dance in two ways, first, as the art of moving the body rhythmically to music, using series of steps and gestures and secondly as a form of non-verbal communication recognizable in animals and in human.

Dance is the movement of the body in a rhythmic way, usually to music and within a given space, for the purpose of expressing an idea or emotion, releasing energy, or simply taking delight in the movement itself. (Mackrell, 2010).

In Africa, African dance though has no singular definition but according to Welsh, (2004) stated that African dance refers mainly to the dance of Sub-Saharan Africa, and more appropriately African dances because of the many cultural differences in musical and movement styles, African dance utilizes the concept of polyrhythm as well as total body articulation while Nigerian dance is a subset of the African dance culture. It is very dynamic, rich and magnetic phenomenon. An example of this is the agogo-agbaja dance of Kabba people in Kogi State. Though it is not easy to classify all Nigerian dances, generally, dance can be categorised by its choreography, its repertoire of movements, by its time and place of origin. We also have theatrical and participatory dance. Nevertheless, these two categories are not completely separate; each may borrow from the other. Both have specific functions; they may be ceremonial dances performed only at one time of the year, they may be regarded as erotic dance, a war dance or a sacred or liturgical dance. These kinds of dances allow both emotional expression and invocation.

Theatrical dance, also called performance or concert dance, is intended primarily as a spectacle, usually a performance upon a stage by virtuoso dancers. It often tells a story, perhaps using mime, costume and scenery, or else it may simply interpret the musical accompaniment, which it is often composed of. Examples are western ballet and modern dance, classical Indian dance, Chinese and Japanese song and dance dramas. Most classical forms are tent red upon dance alone but performance dance may also appear in opera and other forms of musical theatre.

Participatory dance is a folk dance, a social dance, a group dance such as a line, circle, chain or square dance, or a partner dance which are common in Western ballroom dancing. It is an exercise of participant rather than onlookers. A solo dance may be undertaken solely for the satisfaction of the dancer. Participatory dancers often all employ the same movement and steps, for example in the rave culture of electronic dance music, vast crowd may be involve in free dance, uncoordinated with those around them just like the agogo-agbeja dance that is  slow, steady and sequential. On the other hand, some cultures may lay down strict rules for a particular dance in which, for example men, women and children may or must participate, like the Ovia-osese of the Ogori people in Kogi State.

Before the invention of written languages, dancing was a more important method of passing information down from one group to another according to the Britannic encyclopaedia.  Dancing can be used in healing rituals, as today in many cultures, religions and diviners houses, from the Brazilian rainforest to the Kalahari Desert and even Nigeria.


According to analysis made in Naira land, there are about 372 tribes in Nigeria and virtually all the tribes have its own musical and cultural dance. Some of these cultural dances have been studied by scholars while others have been engaged by artists as creative resource. A typical traditional Nigerian dance form is the agogo-agbaja dance, which is identified with the Kabba people of Kogi State. Also whenever painting is mentioned, most minds including those of some painters go towards the use of brush, pallet knife as a means for transferring pigments to surface. People lose the sight of the availability of other means of transferring colours, pigments, to surfaces meant to be painted. This study seeks to engage the above dance as possible resource for painting. The study and studio project engages the agogo-agbaja dance from a poetic essence by exploring the role played by the feet in dance in aiding the body movement to give rise to gestures that can be interpreted graphically and other wise.

This research and studio project, thus, explored the special effects of this uncharacteristic dance steps as a possible technique that can give rise to conceptual ideas in painting. In applying paint on canvas with the feet through the process of

agogo-agbaja dance, the painter explores the twin and complementary rhythms of dance and music and how they can be captured in the after-dance footprints as frozen graphic register of the concluded dance activity.


Based on the data collected in the field, this study will attempt the following: To appropriate dance steps as possible instrument for the orchestration of colour in painting. To problematise normative notions of painting and the conventional techniques at the disposal of the average painter and to present to the observers another pattern of displaying or exhibiting paintings after the whole project.

Another aim of this study is to draw attention to the poetic essence of dance and its capacity as communication-expression. To do that, this it used the dance as a major element to enhance the studio work (that is, the paintings). For instance, the imageries for the studio work were idealized from the dance tunes. The study equally seeks to look at inventiveness in the grasp of momentary or physical art forms and assume significant reviews of art activities with the community by noting the reaction/comments of the public (observer) towards the art piece.




This study contributes meaningfully to the field of painting, both as process and product, by highlighting how music, dance and dance steps can provide artist with immeasurable artistic possibilities. The process of this research will form an invaluable and reference materials for artists and scholars who may wish to carry out further research in this field. This study expands the normative notions of painting and shows how improvisation and unorthodox approaches and techniques can yield evocative and highly expressive visual outcomes


Data for this study were gathered from primary and secondary sources. Engaging dancers of the agogo-agbaja dance in series of performances formed the major bulk of the source of primary data. The imprint of feet left behind where dances or movements have taken place, proved invaluable in generating ideas and initial sketches for studio work. The studio work also involved having the dancers perform the dance and movements of agogo-agbaja dance on canvas after the soles of their feet have been stained with pre-determined colours.

Secondary data was sourced from published materials such as books as well as online articles. The internet was very helpful in this regard.


This study focused on, dance as a subject matter, the poetic essence of dance, the philosophy about foot print in vernacular, Nigerian dance, the appropriation of absence for presence and how the above can be used as painters’ creative resource.



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