For the African, music and dance are synonymous. Across the continent incredible music is being produced which is hugely influenced by our diverse cultural heritage and of course most of this music goes hand in hand with a variety of different dance styles and trends which further drive the popularity of the songs. to massive heights. — especially on social networks. Vibrant, elaborate, unique and always infectious, many of these dance styles manage to capture the African spirit and energy, often transcending or even surviving the songs that inspired them.
From southern Africa, east and west, several dance styles have taken the continent (and the world) by storm for several years now. But as music genres like Afrobeats and Amapiano continue to grow, our African street dance styles continue to evolve and thrive. We take a look at 5 of our favorite street dance styles from across the continent in recent years.
Leg work / Zanku (Nigeria)
It’s almost impossible to discuss the history and influence of contemporary Nigerian pop music without referring to the dances that marked its path, and we doubt anyone will forget the Leg work/Zanku era anytime soon. The dance style originated in Nigeria and was popularized by street hop artists like Zlatan and Naira Marley. In fact, the Zanku dance style is said to be an acronym for “Zlatan Abeg No Kill Us”, which went viral after the star’s hit singles were released. Killin Dem and Zanku (leg work). The dance involves rapid, rhythmic movements of almost every part of the body, including the legs, hands, and chest. Although the dance style has given way to more recent dances, it remains a confident move for many on the dance floor.
Whereas Kupe Dance is a song by Ghanaian-British artist A-Star, he is a popular Ghanaian dancer, Amazing Zigi, who allegedly created the kupe dance steps circa 2018. Within a week, the dance went viral on social media, as dancers flooded the internet to participate in online challenges. Soon after, the dynamic dancer invented the Pilolo – a name borrowed from a game of hide and seek popular among Ghanaian children. Like its predecessor, the pilolo also became an instant hit, reaching its worldwide peak when Janet Jackson performed the dance at the end of her “Made for Now” performance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in 2018.
Amapiano Dance (South Africa)
Hailing from the Rainbow Nation, who can forget the Gwara Gwara dance that reigned supreme a few years ago? The dance was made popular by South African artist, DJ Bongz, with the introduction of his hit single Ofana Nawe, and was distinguished by the continuous winding of one leg. Since then, we’ve had a steady supply of invigorating dance moves from around the country, with the Amapiano style of dancing (which went viral in 2019 and throughout the 2020 pandemic) soon taking center stage.
Amapiano has created trending dance moves such as “the leaping cat”, the “Zekethe”, the “Dakiwe challenge” and the famous dance move “Mlando”, to name a few. The dance style is a hot rave and one of the most popular Afro dance moves in 2022.
Odi Dance (Kenya)
Odi dance is a Kenyan style commonly associated with youth. Started by a professional gospel dancer and artist, Timeless Noel, Hype Ochi and gospel dancehall artist, Jabiddi, the Odi dance was started to attract more young people (mainly those from low-income neighborhoods) to the gospel of the Christ. The dance not only became a national sensation, but gained popularity across the African continent.
Ndombolo is an Afro-popular dance style originating in the Democratic Republic of Congo and common in Central and East Africa. The Ndombolo dance involves movements of the waist, hips and legs, and was popularized by artists like Koffi Olomide and Awilo Longomba. Although the dance style has been around for a long time (as far back as the 90s), it is still very much alive and evolving with the times.