African dance, performing art deeply woven into the social fabric of Africa and generally involving aspects of music and dance.
Dance culture in South Africa is integral in a country whose history is shot-through with examples of dance as an expression of all that life’s rich pageant has to offer. Warriors did it with spears and shields on the battlefield, and once the dust settled, women did it with a sexy shuffle in the shebeens or watering holes. Before 1994 when the country joyfully leaped to its well-deserved freedom, its people formed a phalanx against their oppressors with a jump-step protest African dance.
African dances societies, serves a complex diversity of social purposes. Within an indigenous African dance tradition, each performance usually has a principal as well as a number of subsidiary purposes, which may express or reflect the communal values and social relationships of the people. In order to distinguish between the variety of African dance styles, therefore, it is necessary to establish the purpose for which each dance is performed.
From the clubs in Accra, Ghana, the azonto dance burst onto the scene in 2011, and is considered to originate from the traditional kpanlogo dance. Azonto dance moves imitate everyday activities and often represent the intentions of the dancer whether that be grooming oneself, swimming, or various other activities. Azonto has become increasingly popular, helped along by various artists such as Iyanya, R2bees, Stay Jay, and more.
Makossa, also known as soukous or the African dance rumba, caught on in the 1990s and remains extremely popular throughout the continent. Originating in the Congo, the makossa involves a lot of thrusting hips, and was popularized even further through artists such as Koffi Olomide and Awilo Longomba.
The agahu dance is thought to come from the Nigerian town Badagry, and is a popular social dance throughout West Africa. During the African dance, two circles are formed, one for men and the other for women. Drums and other percussion instruments provide the rhythym and soul of the agahu dance, with the agboba barrel-shaped drum as the focal point.
The Suo dance, particularly popular in West Africa, has unique movements that occasionally resemble somebody attempting to start a lawnmower or generator. The lowering in the waist and pulling and stretching hand movements became extremely popular in Nigeria, thanks to African dance musicians such as Danfo Driver and Marvelous Benji.
Thanks to P-Square’s song, “Alingo,” the African dance craze has entered into the mainstream consciousness of African dancers around the world, and the fast-paced beat inspire an energetic and fun dance. Though it is somewhat controversial for its sexual nature, the alingo dance remains popular throughout Nigeria and the rest of the African dance continent despite the fact that it’s definitely not the easiest dance to do for the untrained.
Originating in Angola, Kizomba is a mix of samba, merengue, and traditional Angolan music. It is considered a very sensual dance, set to unique African rhythms, often of a romantic nature. Kizomba music is usually sung in Portuguese, reflecting the colonial history of Angola, and the partner dance has become extremely popular throughout lusophone African countries, Europe, and the U.S.