10 Countries with the Best Dance Moves in Africa

by | Africa

Jun 2, 2023

African dances are unique and very aesthetic. They convey a lot of emotion and, many times, tell stories deeper than what words can say. From Nigeria to Zambia and then South Africa to Ghana, these dances bring you face-to-face with pure artistry. This article takes you to the 10 countries with the best dance moves in Africa, where you pitch tents and explore the art of dance and music.

1. Nigeria

Nigeria is one of the most artistic countries in Africa, with some of the best dance moves. From music to film and theatre, Nigerians are all killing it. 

They have some of the best dance moves in Africa too. Many have come, and many have gone. But one of the most popular dances in Nigeria right now is called the ‘leg work.’ Also known as Zanku.

It is called this because there are a lot of leg movements. At first glance, these movements seem very difficult, but a second look shows you can learn them with ease. 

The leg movements are done to specific rhythms of afrobeat; they can be slow movements or fast ones. 

Another special dance in Nigeria used to be ‘Alanta’.

You can find a lot of Nigerian dancers on Tiktok by searching with the keywords: “Girlfriend challenge” and “Leg work challenge.” 

2. Ghana

Ghanaians have a lot of good dances too. Some of the best dance moves in Africa. Their dances, like those in Nigeria, are trendy. That is to say; the popular dance does not last very long.

It usually begins its trend following the release of a song. 

Years ago, the dance called “Azonto” raved, following the release of the song, Azonto. It was a fairly easy-to-learn dance and incorporated both hand and leg movements. 

Many called it a dance of leisure—in many ways, it was—one of those dances you put up when good news hits. 

The popular dances in Ghana now, however, are the leg work (danced the same way as that of Nigerians, only that there is a little variation.), Kupe, Pilolo, Ena dance, and Shoo dance.

Read: Top 10 Countries that Make the Best Movies in Africa 

3. South Africa

When it comes to music and theatre, South Africa knows their onions. Amapiano and its variants from South Africa have been on a rave these past months. The genre is spreading like wildfire throughout Africa. Such that even popular Afrobeat artists like Wizkid, Davido, and Sarkodie are hopping on it. 

Luckily, Amapiano does not come alone. There is a unique dance technique that follows it. Call it the Amapiano dance, as they do in Nigeria or Ghana. Or just call it the Zekete.

Amapiano has other variants that look very good too. The ‘pouncing cat’ has been said to be the hardest variant of this dance. But I do not quite agree. It took less than 3 days for me to get the hang of it. 

For someone who is not a talented dancer (who wouldn’t even consider himself a dancer, that is impressive, I think.” 

4. Kenya

A stop in Kenya cannot be missed if we are truly seeking to see some of the best dancers and listen to some of the best music in Africa. 

Kenyan dances, unlike some listed already, seem to be full of soul. They can be blended into fast and slow songs alike. Some of them have been incorporated into gospel songs!

One of the most common Urban dances in Kenya is called Odi and incorporates a lot of leg movements. 

Timeless Noel, a gospel dancer, introduced the dance and began to gather popularity.

It has spread to other African countries.

I believe the thing that intrigues me the most about this dance is the rich facial expressions on the faces of the dancers. The dance is not complete without these expressions. 

Read: 12 Most Beautiful Cities in Africa

5. Congo

Let me be honest here. The Congolese have some of the most danceable music in the world. I put up an article a while ago listing some African countries that make the best music. You should check them out. 

The most common dance in Congo at the moment is called Ndombolo and is the kind of dance woven into special upbeat songs.

It is so engaging because you use most of your body. Your legs. Your hips. And occasionally, your hands. 

The dance was popularized by Awilo Longomba. Growing up in Nigeria, this name was one of the most popular. And whenever we heard it, we thought about the dance. This Congolese dance is probably one of the best dance moves in Africa.

6. Mali

Mali is known much for its artistic side; its music industry seems to be struggling to find some footing, and so do its film and theatre. 

But Mali, unarguably, has some of the best dances in Africa. 

The dance I am choosing to put on display in this article is called The Lamban Griotic. 

It is not an ‘urban’ dance like the many listed here. It has its roots in Malian history and has been said to have the power to invite spirits. 

Watching this dance is a rare moment everyone holds dear. It is like watching a story being told with arm movements. 

Read: Top 10 African Movies to Watch

7. Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is a very artistic country. I give them that. They know their onions when it comes to dance and music and has gifted us Africans the ‘Jerusarema’ dance which has been raving for quite some time. 

It is a dance move that tells too many stories. 

It can be considered both an Urban dance and a rural dance and can be done with a number of different songs, including the Afrobeats. 

It is so popular a dance that articles have been written about it. With this dance, one sees clearly the role of art in fostering unity. 

Jerusarema is one dance that has brought people close. 

Other important dances you can find in Zimbabwe are the Mbakumba dance, Muchongoya dance, Shagara dance, and others. 

Summary

Dance does more than just make people feel good about themselves. It also has a part to play in bringing them closer to their history, to their stories. These best dance moves in Africa are proof of this.

By Ubong Jonhson

Ubong Johnson (Ubee) is a relationship expert, medical student, and writer. He writes articles which cover everything from relationships and nutrition to lifestyle. His works of short fiction have appeared in several literary magazines including The Shallow Tales Review, Ngiga Review, and the Kalahari Review. He is the founder and editor of Fiction Niche.

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