How to dance kukere

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A guide to Africa's most popular dance moves from the 2010s

A look at the popular dance moves that dominated last decade

Written by The Native - 07. Aug.2020

Any Afropop song worth its salt is inherently hinged upon its ability to make you dance, and artists tend to gear the music towards danceable rhythms that will get a party started or rile a crowd of concert-goers up. While we did the Makossa, Swo and Yahooze through our formative years in the noughties, those dance moves didn’t quite hold the kind of reverence the ones we have today do.

Over the past few years, some artists have seen massive success due to their attachment to a particular dance move, which catapulted their songs to new heights. Take Zlatan for example, who coined the current rave, Zanku (an acronym for the phrase “Zlatan Abeg No Kill Us”), which has birthed its own sound of popular music at the moment. Even though there is a slight obsession at home to declare the end of the Zanku era, it’s wise to truly appreciate something for what it is. Starting as a dance from the streets of Lagos, popularised by Zlatan and Chinko Ekun, Zanku became a global phenomenon, which has most recently been tapped into by Beyoncé in her latest film, ‘Black Is King’. For that alone, the movement will go down in history as one of the most dominating runs in Nigerian culture.

Now that outside is closed, and we don’t even know when it will be safe to hit the clubs again, we’re missing all those sweaty times when the person standing next to you just had to spread themselves to bust a shoki – even when there’s literally no space for all of that. So while we’re reminiscing about those times, we’ve decided to look back at all the popular dances we had in the last decade. From Davido’s Skelewu to the Shaku Shaku which made it over the shores, here are the most popular dance moves we had in the past decade:

Granted, this dance arrived way before the 2010s, but we just had to give the Galala an honourable mention, seeing as the move still goes off today.

Dancing has remained a reliable bridge between the street (ghetto) and popular Nigerian culture. When Daddy Showkey emerged from the streets of Ajegunle to dominate the mainstream music scene in the ’90s, he brought along the Galala dance step which required dancers to bend their knees and shuffle their feet in one spot. The dance has remained evergreen and saw a sort of resurgence through the late 2010s, with dancers still referencing it occasionally to show their range and performers like Santi breaking out the move to wow their fans. Though Daddy Showkey, Baba Fryo and others from that region were known for popularising the dance and the sound that goes along with it, the credit for its origin goes to the vibrant dance scene in the Ajegunle ghetto.

If we never get to the bottom of the friendly war between Nigeria and Ghana, we’ll pin it on the fact that Wizkid hijacked their dance move and made it his own. Back in 2012, the azonto was all the rave, thanks to Sarkodie and E.L’s late 2011 offering, “U Go Kill Me”. Initially emerging from Accra’s bubbling Jamestown, the moves and sequencing for the azonto dance can be in part credited to the Ghana’s Ga tribe. Making it all the way to Prince William and David Cameron in the UK, for the diaspora communities in particular, the Azonto became a unifying symbol of West African pride, and was arguably the first dance to popularise social media challenges, which have in turn changed the way we appreciate music.

Afropop singer, Iyanya lucked out in 2012 when he created the viral dance that became known as Kukere following the release of his breakout song of a similar name. The dance is actually a direct adaptation of the traditional Efik dance known as the Etighi dance. Being of Efik origin himself, it comes as no surprise that the artist popularised a dance step which greatly nods to his culture but for a modern audience. The dance went on to become popular in Nigeria and Ghana and even became a mainstay in the United Kingdom, where members of the diaspora still connected to home would adopt the dance and popularise it in dance clubs across the shores.

Alkayida (Ghana, 2013)

Though it didn’t take off quite as far as the azonto dance craze, alkayida was the dance move from Ghana that followed, in a sense evolving out of the azonto cultural reset. Naming his hip-hop hit after the song, “Alkayida (Boys Abr3)” , Ghanaian rapper Guru brought the dance into popularity. Unfortunately, its controversial name meant that the alkayida wasn’t as far reaching as the azonto, but what the dance lost in reach it makes up for in longevity, as this dance move remains on the roster ’till today.

Shoki (Nigeria, 2013)

Shoki had its moment in the mainstream in 2014 as it took over from Davido’s Skelewu dance trend. Emerging from the youth of Agege in 2013 Dre San, Lil Kesh and Orezi released singles titled “Shoki” that year, but it was Lil Kesh’s debut single under YBNL that fully captured the essence of the Shoki rave. While the bend and slowly lift before tossing away dance motion was innocent it itself, the context for Shoki has always been sexual since it was first popularised by Femi Kuti’s ‘Shoki Shoki’ album released in 1998. The sexual undertone of Shoki fit Lil Kesh’s lewd brand of Afropop and he championed the dance through his sexually provocative lyrics and music video which featured Davido also doing the Shoki dance. Everyone was doing the Shoki after that and it certainly helped that it wasn’t a complicated move to learn.

Skelewu (Nigeria, 2013)

The year was 2013 when Davido’s viral dance challenge inadvertently led to the nation catching the Skelewu bug. Hit songs always seem to carry with them innovative dance moves, and Davido definitely piqued our interest when he set off this viral dance, which was further encapsulated by the song’s video. Though short-lived, the song and the dance competition was all anyone could talk about, and thus a new way of partying was born. The song had two videos, one which was an instructional guide on how to do the dance and a second, more theatrical video which imagined a dystopian post-apocalyptic world where the Skelewu fever took off, leaving only those that were able to get down, have fun and hit that Skelewu.

Sekem (Nigeria, 2013)

The video for Iyanya’s “Kukere” not only set the stage for the dance craze of the same name, it was also the catalyst behind Sekem, the viral dance that grew in popularity between late 2013 and mid-2014. The “Kukere” video featured an extensive cameo from MC Galaxy, who provided comic relief with his complicated style of the Kukere dance, and shot to a higher level of fame shortly after. Leveraging on that rise in popularity, MC Galaxy, a comedian by trade at the time, a composite evolution of Kukere and Skelewu. The T-Spize-produced title song came with lyrics instructing listeners on how to perform the dance step—one hand in front and one in back, and gliding to the side by twisting one foot. The dance craze permeated the mainstream through a challenge where prizes were awarded, and the sound MC Galaxy brought along also left its mark, even making imitators out of P-Square, who mimicked the sound on their smash hit, “Shekini”.

Shakiti Bobo (Nigeria, 2015)

Olamide may be the undefeated King of the Streets, but he’s undeniably also built a reputation as being the king of viral dance trends. Back in 2015, he kicked off the viral Shakiti Bobo dance following the release of his hit single “Bobo”, and immediately won the hearts of the nation with the catchy song and even catchier dance step that we’ve seen sported by some of our faves like Missy Elliot. Though tied to the sound of the streets, the dance went on to become one of the unifying dance moves from these parts and you couldn’t hit up an event spot without having to bust into this dance at least once #thatyear.

Shaku Shaku (Nigeria, 2017)

Shaku Shaku was one of the first African dance moves to go viral on the internet. It all started when Olamide initiated a dance challenge to decide which dance crew to feature in the music video for his street smash, “Wo” in 2017. Lagos-based dance crew, Westsyde won the challenge with their feet shuffling and hand bondage dance choreograph which they called Shaku Shaku. While the song went on to dominate the mainstream music scene in Nigeria, the intersection of dance, music, viral video and social media made the Shaku into a movement that all Africans, both at home and in the diaspora, felt proud to be a part of. There was a communal sense of pride associated to dancing Shaku Shaku and after France‘s predominantly black football team won the World Cup in 2018 and did the Shaku Shaku in celebration, it felt like a validating moment for the African music scene.

Gwara Gwara (SA, 2017)

Rihanna’s performance at the 2018 Grammy’s, Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” music video, and the streets of South Africa all have this dance move in common. Created “from scratch” by South Africa’s DJ Bonz who released tutorials of how to do the dance along with his 2017 single “Ofana Nawa” which features Sobz, the Gwara Gwara dance has taken a well documented tour through South African music – such as the infectious dance tune, “Gobisiqolo” by Bhizer and Babes Wodumo’s Mampintsha-assisted “Wololo” – and beyond.

Zanku (Nigeria, 2018)

New dance crazes are frequent occurrences, but the speed with which the Zanku completely phased out Shaku Shaku was quite remarkable. After fully emerging into the mainstream at the top of 2018, it seemed like we would all be pulling imaginary generator ropes till the end of the year, however, the final quarter of the year came with a drastic flip in the switch. Catalysed by the smash success of Chinko Ekun’s “Able God” and sealed by Zlatan’s “Zanku (Leg Work)”, the Zanku dance – with its feet stomps, bent backs, vigorous shoulder rolls and climactic kick (Gbese!) – became a fixture at year end parties and concerts.

With his involvement on the two aforementioned records and his scene stealing feature on the apex Zanku song, Burna Boy’s “Killin’ Dem”, Zlatan can rightly claim to be the prime populariser of the dance, but its exact origins are quite ambiguous. So far, it has been traced back to Agege, one of the numerous, packed places in Lagos where ghetto coincides with suburbia, and the same place where Shaku Shaku came about. These days, the Zanku has elevated from its murky beginnings into an identifiable dance with international adopters, most recently, Beyoncé in the video for the Shatta Wale-assisted “Already”. That the Zanku is still in vogue and continues to evolve in variation nearly two years later speaks to its durability, and when it fades, it will be remembered as one of the greatest and best dance crazes to take over afropop.

Pilolo (Ghana, 2018)

Pilolo which loosely translates to “go search for”, is a traditional Ghanaian game of hide and seek, whereby one person hides an object and the other children involved in the game search for it. But since 2018, the name Pilolo has been given a whole new meaning as Zigi, the Ghanaian singer who is also known for starting the Kupe craze, named his brand new dance after the game. Coming up with the dance move whilst practicing for a video, Zigi explains:

“I rushed to my brother, showed him the steps and he asked me to add more energy to it. I did more research, watched more dance videos, so I wouldn’t come up with an already existing dance, then went ahead to shoot the dance video, ending it with my new step.”

Performed by Janet Jackson in her set of “Made of Now” on Jimmy Fallon’s The Tonight Show, Zigi’s well researched new move is now another global dance sensation stemming from the continent.

Kpakujemu (Nigeria, 2018)

Olamide has popularised many dance moves in his time. From Shakiti Bobo to the Shaku Shaku right down to 2018’s Kpakujemu, Olamide knows just the right moves to hit the scene with, and just the right grooves to get us dancing. Launched by the winners of Olamide’s “Wo” challenge (which brought about the Shaku Shaku), with a collaborative single, featuring Lyta, Terri and Barry Jhay, and Olamide himself, “Kpakujemu” is the Westside Lifestyle dance crew’s debut single and the first formal introduction we got to the move. Earliest sightings of the Kpakujemu, however trace back to one of Olamide’s visit to Cool FM where he shows OAPs Kemi Smallz and Do2dtun how the newest move in town is done to the tune of his fresh single “Motigbana”. Though, surprisingly, the song “Kpakujemu” song didn’t air with a music video, he dance has caught on and is still a fave amongst dancers and music influencers alike.

Dances by Iffy Atuche

Written by Debola Abimbolu, Adewojumi Aderemi, Dennis Ade-Peter and Tami Makinde

Dancing as an integral part of festive events | EAFF

23 April 2020 Curious facts

Folk holidays and their holding are based on knowledge and ideas about the world related to health, family well-being and fertility. Dance is a way of expressing emotions, prayers and wishes that represent the aforementioned needs.

Here is the permanent role of the following dances in celebrations:

Ivan Kupala round dance – On June 24, many Slavs celebrate an ancient holiday dedicated to the summer solstice. In Russia, the custom is called Ivan Kupala (popular nickname of St. John the Baptist), in Ukraine - Ivan Kupail, and in Belarus the ancient holiday is called Kupalle. Traditionally, during this holiday, young people are looking for a spouse. When night falls, an ancient round dance starts around the fire - a symbol of the sun and eternal rebirth. The brighter the fire, the faster the round dance moves. After the dance, the men line up. Women touch the shoulders of the one they like and run away. The man must grab the "bride", take her by the hand and jump over the fire, consecrating their union. Night on Ivan Kupala is filled with rituals associated with water, fire and medicinal herbs. nine0007

Dancing while caroling – Caroling is a Slavic tradition performed in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Serbia and Slovenia. In Bulgaria, on Christmas Eve, a team of young guys - "koledari", dressed in folk costumes, sing carol songs. The magical atmosphere of the ritual is conveyed through each stroke of the wooden wands, through heavy measured steps that take the form of a dance, through wishes and songs. Most often, carolers sing, dance well and wish the owners of houses health and harvest. In Central Europe on Christmas night there are groups called the Boys of Bethlehem who sing church hymns. In Russia, the participants in the custom are little girls and boys. The closest thing to the Bulgarian koledars are the Romanian and Moldavian kolushars, who also bless the hosts, but do it not on Christmas Eve, but on the third day after Christmas. nine0007

Lazar dance – The custom “Lazaruvane” has Old Slavic roots and is traditionally performed on the day of the Christian Lazarus Resurrection. It involves girls who are 16 years old and who are called "Lazarki". They walk around the field and from house to house, dance and sing songs about love, fertility, health and family well-being. The girls turn to Lada, the goddess of love, to show them what their married life will be like. According to tradition, the culmination of the holiday is the “Lazarskoe horo”, when all the girls who participated in the rituals during the day gather and dance in front of married women and unmarried guys. In this round dance, the guys choose their future wives, and married women choose their daughters-in-law. The custom is performed in Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Serbia. nine0007

Dance of the Kukers - Kukers are pagan ceremonial costumed carnival figures, dressed like animals, always wearing masks on their heads, often with bells on their belts and in furs with their hair out. There are mummers in Romania, Moldova, Serbia, Greece, North Macedonia, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and also in Austria, where they are called "perchten". In our time, everywhere in Bulgaria, the Slavic custom, intertwined with the ancient Thracian ritual practices addressed to the god Dionysius, is celebrated on the day of Forgiveness Sunday (Conjuration before Great Lent). The purpose of the kuker dances is to ensure that with the help of magical dances and scary masks, evil spirits are frightened and banished forever, and this year's harvest for the owners is rich. Costumed men visit all houses with wishes for health, fertility and prosperity and collect gifts from the owners. In the village square, the kukers are dancing wild dances, loudly ringing the bells hanging from them. nine0007

Naadam Dance - The Mongols recreate their traditional Naadam festival in the form of songs, dances and blessings. In 2010, the century-old holiday was included in the representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO. The festival is popular for its "three men's games" - Mongolian wrestling, equestrian competitions and archery, which are peculiarly present in festive events such as weddings and spiritual gatherings.

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Modern ballroom dancing, which later became known as sports, is characterized by the fact that it is competitive.

Even before the First World War there were major dance competitions in Europe in Paris, Berlin and Baden-Baden. However, until the mid-thirties, they were mostly closed, since there were neither professional nor amateur international dance organizations, general requirements for holding competitions, criteria for evaluating a particular dance were not developed, the ballroom dancing program was not streamlined (then considered ballroom dancing only waltz, foxtrot and tango). At 19In the year 24 in England, under the Imperial Society of Dance Teachers, a Ballroom Dancing Department was created, which developed standards for music, steps and ballroom dancing technique. Gradually, sports dances spread throughout Europe, reached Asia and America.

Then, with varying degrees of success, various national and European associations and federations of ballroom dancing were created, but none of them lasted for a long time. In addition, disagreements between professionals and amateurs did not stop, hopes for mutual cooperation each time failed. And only on October 19In 1965, the historic "Bremen Agreement" was concluded, which became a turning point in the history of modern ballroom dance.
In 1997, the International Olympic Committee recognized dance as an Olympic sport. But so far, attempts to include them in the program of the Olympic Games have not been successful ...

SBP are divided into 2 programs: European (standard) and Latin American (latin).
This collection attempts to show works of art that reflect the European program of ballroom dancing. nine0052


correct body position. It persists throughout the dance. The program includes five dances: slow waltz, quickstep, tango, slow foxtrot and viennese waltz

Karen Dupra

Ball dancing
Helen Herro


Ball dancing

Ball dancer
Sera Night 9000
John Gatta Betta Julie Comeda Comed WILSON Olga CHERNOVSKAYA

from Ashot ASATRYAN

Slow waltz

The first waltzes came to us in the Middle Ages from Bavaria. In the 19th century, the pace of waltzes was quite high, and over time, composers began to write slower music as well. From this music a different style of waltz developed, called the Boston waltz, with slower turns, long, sliding movements. And in the second half of the XIX century. in England, another dance style appeared, English, later called Slow Waltz, which became the progenitor of the modern Slow Waltz. nine0007

to the sounds of a waltz
Vladimir Pervuninsky
And this is so funny a waltz at the beginning of the twentieth century :)

waltzed in Als Valsyvyushch
Vl. Pervuninsky Anastasia Shvetsova Anders Tsorn

Slow waltz
sulfur Night

Slow waltz

Alexander Uglov Leslie Marcus

With the help of this video, those who wish can learn the basic movements of the slow waltz and feel quite comfortable at dance parties.

Stewart Gilbert Stewart Gilbert

Flight is bent AGNISHIC VAL 0 C

Circle of Waltz
Dina Zilberg 9000 9000 9000
0109 Dance of the wind
Hiter Herzeler Rob Gonsalves

Camilla Clade

Slow Waltz

Light, Air Kvikstande (Fast Focus) Then he made his debut in the American Music Hall and became very popular in dance halls. In the twenties, the dance came to England, where it was carefully protected from the capricious trends of dance fashion, and soon this dance of strict lines (but allowing improvisation, changing the combination and sequence of movements), quickly conquered Europe. nine0007

The element of dance. Quikstep
Roman Garasyuta Zinovy ​​Sydoriv Roman Garasyuta

Slow Foxtrot Quikstep

Slow Foxtrot

Foxtrot, a dance born in the twentieth century, was named after its creator and first performer of the American actor Harry Fox (Arthur Currringford). It was originally performed at a tempo of 48 beats per minute. But many orchestras played the slow foxtrot too fast, which eventually led to the formation of two different dances: the slow foxtrot and the quickstep. nine0007

and Tango
Andrey Prudhukuk

Biddle Biddle Sumer Treish Biddle

outside the SBP competitions are annually passing in drama and beauty of the competition - Tango championships. Participants compete in two categories: salon and stage tango. The main difference is that the rules of salon tango are closer to the origins - all the movements of the partners must be made in the space that hugs allow. Recently, Argentinean tango has had a significant influence on competitive European tango, which is why I included it in this selection. nine0007

Richard Young

Richard Young

Tango cascade plunging tango tango fountain
Richard Young

Richarg 9000 9000
David Llayd Llayd Llayd Llayd Llayd Llayd Llayd Llayd Llayd


Pedro Alwehres Paul David Pedro Alverse

Zinoviy Sidoriv

Dmitry Chiparus

In general, tango is a whole empire, MB someday I will gather my courage and dedicate a separate post to it...

Viennese waltz

careful - at balls in Vienna itself, the waltz was allowed to dance no more than 10 minutes: the hugs of the gentleman and the lady in the dance were considered not quite appropriate. But it was already impossible to stop this enchanting, magical, brilliant waltz. The formation of the Viennese waltz was facilitated by the remarkable Viennese composers - father and son Strauss. And today the Viennese waltz preserves the traditions of ballroom dancing of the 19th century, during the performance the body must be strictly tightened, pretentious bends and mannerisms are not welcome. The beauty of the Viennese waltz lies in the changeable tempo and in the constantly alternating left and right turns. nine0007

Zinoviy Cydoriv

Vienna Waltz
Oleg Kalitanov

Vitaly Ponomarenko

9000 9000 9000

And so, it’s non -dancing, but with a shower, but with a shower of Vaja dancing, but a dance is dance.

Ballroom dancing by Alla Chebotareva Chebotarevs, Gennady Gunko and Alla Chebotareva), two-time champion of the Soviet Union and 14-time champion of Russia in ballroom dancing, six-time winner of the World Championships in Latin American and European sequea, master of art history, head of the International Academy of Dance Art .

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