Sagna, Mertesacker, Podolski do the etighi dance

Posted: August 2, 2012 in art/entertainment

While some swear the craze started when a physically-challenged political party supporter danced at a welcome rally for President Goodluck Jonathan on a working visit to Akwa Ibom State, others argue that it is just a derived form of street dance expression from the Efik traditional dance.

However, whichever school of opinion holds sway, the fact remains that the etighi as a contemporary street dance style is not necessarily the easiest of dances to learn let alone perfect. Some even think you must be born an Efik to know how to do the etighi.

Complete with its own website http://etighi.com/e/, the popular street dance is fast gaining popularity among other dance style contemporaries. This dance style is quite unique because of the coordination that happens between the hands, the body and hips of a dancer.

From the galala, suo, yahoozee, alanta, azonto street dance raves, the etighi is the most traditional dance-compliant and certainly the most dynamic of its predecessors.

Literally translated to mean ‘the okro’ dance, the etighi first hit the limelight at the 2010 Calabar Carnival, blazed through the Abuja Carnival of November  2011 and by the 2011 edition of the Calabar Carnival in Cross River State had become the in-thing, the all-important repertoire in the presentations by the competing carnival bands.

Such is the zeal, humour and energy combined in executing the etighi dance that presently every youth in the country is on to it with children even inventing numerous routines and interpretations in the dance like the generator, cripple, okada, keke, shooting, makeup, slicing vegetable, the okro, mortar, and many others. It is a dance open to many interpretations and imaginations.

However, the biggest endorsement for the etighi dance may well have come from the Arsenal Football Club of London, whose first team members  were in the country last weekend courtesy of Guinness Nigeria  to promote its recently launched Malta Guinness Low Sugar product.

When news leaked that the popular club’s members were about to hit the stage for a dance session, anticipation mounted among the select audience members comprising the club faithful, media and some of the company’s staff to see what could be described as Che 8th Wonder.

Lukas Podolski, Per Mertesacker and Bacary Sagna, all three hit the ground running as they had only been in the country a few hours earlier, and to be in shape for the workout which best defined and informed their choice for the product’s endorsement.

The Grand ballroom of the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, therefore provided the platform for what was to be the launch and live recording/filming of the first-ever Malta Guinness Low Sugar Workout session with Arsenal Football Club, last Sunday.

Part of the dance routine choreographed by Kafayat Shafau (also known as Kaffy) included dance steps like the etighi, as the audience roared in positive appreciation of the efforts by the trio at perfecting an ordinarily difficult move.

The Malta Guinness Low Sugar Workout did succeed in doing the near impossible; getting some Germans to do a tough dance routine, and the Nigerians who would in a few days time see the edited commercial on television would only have the beverage maker to thank for making it possible to see one of the most exciting actions in recent times.

According to Guinness, the Malta Guinness Low Sugar Workout will also be part of an online advertisement for the soft drink of that name.

After hours sweating it out with the dance company under the guidance of Kaffy, the choreographer, one player in  particular Mertesacker picked out the etighi routine as the most difficult, saying: “Yea, I quite enjoyed it. It was fun to do, but I found that dance (etighi) was very difficult. I struggled to get used to it. But aside that the workout was fun,” Mertesacker confessed.

For defender and Senegalese-born Frenchman Sagna, it was piece of cake, as according to him, the dance is inborn being an African by birth: “It was fun too. That dance was not difficult for me. It’s in the blood. I’m an African and so everything from there I naturally am used to.’

For Mertesacker and Podolski, therefore, it could well be the European etighi style, courtesy of Malta Guinness Low Sugar.

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