Agbadza is an Ewe music and dance that evolved from the times of war into a very popular recreational dance. It came from a very old war dance called Atrikpui and usually performed by the Ewe people of the Volta Region of Ghana, particularly during the Hogbetsotso Festival, a celebration by the Anlo Ewe people. In addition, it is also performed by Togolese and Beninese of Ewe descent. The dance has five movements in performing it,
- Banyinyi which is a short introductory in prayer to the gods and ancestors,
- Vutsortsor which is the main dance,
- Adzo- which is less energetic and only the master is made to drum along with Gankogui and Axatse,
- Hatsatsa- historical songs are performed along with Gankogui and Atoke,
- Vutsortsor- finally, another round of the main dance which usually last for a number of hours. Gankogui is an instrument in a form of a bell where a stick is used to play.
Atoke is also an iron banana shaped bell and played with a small forged iron rod. The Atoke can be used in place of the Gankogui they are both used for the same purpose.
The dance is usually played at funerals, weddings, and parties. Essentially, it is played at any occasion that called for an Ewe identity emblem, since this music is known by other ethnic groups to be uniquely Ewe. Everyone is welcome to join in the dance, unlike other Ewe dances, which sometimes are reserved for people of a certain age, religion, or gender. The dance is sometimes known as the “chicken dance” due to the bird-like motions required for the dance.