Re-Awakening Traditional Performing Arts

Researchers in this paper intend to establish dialogue and thereby provide a platform for critical engagement and reflection with the cultural heritages which are termed as Performing Arts. The key concepts and the various approaches which surrounds the performing arts will be discussed. Case study of the Performing Art form India, Kenya and Nigeria will be done. Further, issues and challenges will be addressed with regards to digitalization and preservation of these performing Arts.


After reading the paper, reader will –

  1. Learn about performing Arts
  2. Key Concepts and Approaches
  • The Case studies – India, Kenya and Nigeria
  1. Issues and challenges
  2. Way forward



  1. Introduction:


Cultural Heritages are very important part of our everyday lives. Consciously and unconsciously, we interact with them, both in constructive and destructive terms. It is this idea of dynamicism in the culture which makes it amenable to growth and also decay. In recent times, there has been revival of scholarly interest especially in light of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to work towards peaceful, fulfilling, satisfying and sustainable societies which not only environmentally sustainable but also culturally rich and socially sustainable societies.

  • Performing Arts


Performing Arts[1] can be said to be –

The performing arts range from vocal and instrumental music, dance and theatre to pantomime, sung verse and beyond. They include numerous cultural expressions that reflect human creativity and that are also found, to some extent, in many other intangible cultural heritage domains.


In this paper, focus is on the following Performing Arts, which researchers believe needs to protected and preserved, especially in light of their unique nature and contribution of the value to the existing pool of performing Arts as can be learnt from scanning the ICH[2] UNESCO List –

  1. India – Ragni
  2. Kenya – Mwomboko Dance, Circumcision ritual
  • Nigeria – Child Moonlight Play


  1. Need for Preservation of Cultural Heritages 


Preservation of cultural artefacts is beneficial in many ways. First, these artefacts are a source of knowledge which help us to know our past and be able to understand our current and future life. Secondly, participants in traditional performing arts in most communities are considered as creative artists since these performances require creative creation and arrangement of texts, beats, dance movements etc. Thirdly, these performing arts require accompaniment of various musical instruments which require a creative way of making them and also using them. Therefore, preserving such traditional creativity means passing on the skills to future generations. Fourthly, preservation of such cultural artefacts and performing arts helps in making others understand us better and live in harmony with each other. Culture keeps our integrity as a people. We define people by their culture. This can be one way of achieving peace and harmony in the world.

It is further to be noted that an individual deprived of cultural is a





  1. Pathways to Preservation

Intangible cultural heritage can be preserved through the use of digital platforms. Oftentimes, these platforms provide a free and open source digital archive that aims to manage the content on behalf of an indigenous community. Digitalization of such information may involve the curation and circulation of specific indigenous cultural heritage material and knowledge. The role of digital technology in managing and controlling access to cultural heritage cannot be downplayed. It enables access to knowledge and information as well as sharing and control of digital material. Technology, and specifically the internet makes information available to everyone everywhere. This notion of open access has made information available while on other hand exposing indigenous communities to commercial exploitation. In some cases, these people even lack access to their own cultural heritage. Unfortunately, cultural production in most developing countries is considered to reside in public domain, and hence open to exploitation especially by the western countries.


Museum, promoting traditional ways to preservation, cultural tokenism , problems with the D,etc



  1. Implications of preservation and Glocalistion in cultural heritage discourse


As already highlighted, it is pertinent to preserve cultural heritages due to reasons already established in previous discussions.  Preservation of cultural heritage through digitisation (Cameron & Kenderdine, 2007) especially with relation to performing arts helps to keep cultures alive. It certifies the continual existence of culture from one generation to another. However, the question of whether cultures are interested in disclosing heritages especially with relation with openness of information (Christen, 2012) comes into question.  Also, the issues of the sense of engagement that people feel when looking at real cultural products as opposed digital ones also come into play. For example, a Yoruba child having the real life experience of Ere Osupa (Moon light plays) as opposed to one watching a digitized form might not experience the same sensation and this has been a highly debated issue in cultural heritage preservation related discourse.

[1] ICH, UNESCO accessed from URL

[2] Intangible Cultural heritage