To Top

Songs that gave us dance styles

One of the common dances

One of the common dances

when the dance floor feels like a dance group. When the DJ plays South African group Mafikizolo’s Ndihamba Nawe, everyone on the dancefloor breaks into the Shuffle dance with it’s well calculated moves, and those who don’t know it can’t help but head to their seats. Ian Ortega writes about songs that we not only enjoy but helped us learn a dance move or two. 

Back then, when Western pop culture filtered through as Uganda attained her Independence, only a few privileged Budonians could comfortably dance.Why? Because it was all about Ballroom dancing and it needed lessons to perfect. The dance scene got crazier as the night clubs opened and who needed to do the fox trot and the chacha chacha?  A revolution had happened and before we knew it the 80s were here and break dance was all the rage. In came another popular dance called Jaaba that involved sweeping one’s feet on the floor. Smack and Namilyango all claim to have invented the dance, maybe to get even with Budo. We might not have proof of who invented Jaaba, but have compiled some of the dance moves that have ruled our dance floors over the past few years.
Calypso Dance
Calypso, calypso, calypso … anyone slightly older than the Museveni regime can sing along to the song Caylpso on The Island by Stanley and the Turbines that was very popular in Uganda in the 80s. The song came along with a dance and it is probably the only dance stroke parents can pull off better than their children.
Bobi Wine tried to localise it when he featured Phina Mugerwa doing the Calypso dance in his Bada song. And for some time, people referred to the local version of Calypso as the Bada dance.  Bada in fact went on to win the Pam Awards 2006 accolade for song of the year. Calypso is danced by going up on your toes and back down over and over again on the same spot! You can shake your waist, gyrate your hips, jump up and down (if it’s a song with a fast pace) or you can just bop your head in time with the music, the upper part of the body is usually stiff though.
Calypso in itself is not just a dance, but a genre of music originating from the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago.

Gangnam style
We’ve always known Asians for kung fu and martial arts, but not this time, as out of the Gangnam Style song came the stroke. Though difficult to master, Ugandans tried their best to pull it off. Gangnam Style is a Korean neologism mainly associated with upscale fashion and lavish lifestyle associated with trendsetters in Seoul’s Gangnam district, which is considered the most affluent part of the metropolitan area. In colloquial usage, it is comparable to the English slang terms “swag” or “yolo”. Yolo is an acronym for ‘you only live once’.  The song was released by PSY and it went viral on Youtube beating the record previously held by Justin Beiber of most watched Youtube Video ever. The Gangnam Style dance imitates riding a horse, hence the lyrics, Opa Gangnam style, op, op.

Willi Willi Dance
It is the only Ugandan music video that has ever gone viral on Youtube. In fact, it has the most Youtube hits for East and Central Africa. It has over 22 million views on Youtube. Though it did not catch on in Uganda, it made a mark on the global scene. The music video had an Asian trying out the dance with the artiste himself Pati illustrating how it goes down in a song he featured Producer Didi. Pati is a dancehall/dance recording artiste, though little or nothing is known about him in Uganda. However, elsewhere in the world, people are doing the Willi Willi dance.

All you have to do to master this stroke is to imagine yourself as a cow of sorts, bend down a little and gyrate around.  The female dancer is the one who actually does the “bend over” part while the male does what the Jamaicans where the song originates from call “daggering.”  Daggering is a dance stroke in itself and all one has to to is to repeatedly “stab” the person who is bending over as you have a dagger. The Bend Over dance was popularised by the Jamaican duo RDX. Bend Over was such a popular song and dance that the Jamaicans even held a show in Uganda, albeit being one hit wonders.
The song caused ripples on the Ugandan music scene and anytime a DJ plays it, one can’t help but notice the euphoria it elicits. The excitement it creates is just insane, especially in women, it seems to drive them wild. They just automatically bend over and shake. One however cannot fail to see the erotic moves in here.

Back then when we were children, zonto was used as a definitive word for a dumb person. So to dance Azonto, you will need to act like a zonto. Azonto originates from Ghana and it was popularised by UK based Ghanaian artiste Fuse-ODG in the song Azonto.  The quick guide to learning Azonto is in the lyrics and it involves putting on a smile, doing some knee-bending and hip movements. Dance away, as dictated by the lyrics. “First step is the step-step, you can move to the right to the left-left, you can even freestyle, when you step-step, put your hands in the air. Twist your fingers you can, wave and say hello lo lo. Make your fist and you, can hit them with the blow, blow, blow.”
The dance has effectively evolved from a few rudimentary moves to embrace depictions of ironing, washing, driving, boxing, grooming, praying, swimming, and others.

Out of the Alingo hit single by P-Square came the Alingo dance. The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) of Nigeria banned the Alingo video from the Nigerian TV screen because it featured erotic scenes at the end of the video.  In Uganda, Alingo dance has remained popular most especially with the girls.  The beat in the Alingo song is an azonto-like fast paced beat which is the beat of the moment.

This is self-explanatory. Without Stamina, Eddy Kenzo would be an unknown entity in the Ugandan music industry. The Stamina dance made people heroes. For example, Ronnie the Stamina dancer instantly became that popular Ugandan dancer and everyone still calls him Ronnie Stamina. To dance Stamina very well, the Mohawk may come in handy (okay not for every head).  The rest are is self-explanatory; just watch the Stamina video by Kenzo. There issues though about what Stamina Kenzo was talking about in the song.

Eddy Kenzo tried his luck once again by introducing the Bolingo dance through the Bolingo song. Kenzo collaborated on the song with Tip Swizzy. Though it did not become viral like Stamina, it introduced more options on the dance floor. Bolingo is similar to improved Lingala only that it involves some jumping and more hard work. The Bolingo music video can act as a tutor for those interested in mastering the stroke. Alternatively, you can look for Cabo Snoop’s Windeck video, where the dance was picked from, modified and given a new name.

Kukere Dance
Kukere means don’t worry. The dance move is actually called  Etighi and has been around now for a while in the south and south eastern region of Nigeria. But the Kukere dance is surely the one dance that is making it all over in Ugandan night clubs.  “Thank God It’s Friday” (TGIF) kukere kukere kukere,” is the usual Friday slogan for most Nigerians. The song by  Nigerian artiste Iyanya is currently the rave all over Kampala and whenever it plays in the clubs, everyone wants to dance Kukere. Actually, they do not say “Let’s dance Kukere” instead they say, “Let’s Kukere”.
The dance originates from Calabar in Nigeria and it was simply spiced by Iyanya and an official song added to its name. It is even more popular in it’s motherland Nigeria with Kukere having the highest number of ringtone downloads, currently standing at over three million. Some Ugandans are still trying to perfect the Kukere that involves shaking or side of one’s behind at a time.

More in Features & Profiles

  • Some people deserve my diva attitude

    super model vibes: Stacie Aamito Lagum is headlining Kampala Fashion Week for the second time. The event runs from October 20...

    Christine NakalungiOctober 21, 2016
  • Hustler: Linda Pacy Katusiime

    TALKING DESIGNS: Linda Katusiime started her business by doing deliveries for friends and relatives. Bringing in items from Turkey, Germany, China...

    Christine NakalungiOctober 21, 2016
  • How to be Mr Safe Hands Denis Onyango

    CATCHING BALLS: He may not be able to save you from your financial woes, but shoot any ball in his direction...

    Christine NakalungiOctober 21, 2016
  • Zil escaped from class to sing

    Early dreams: He is only 25, but for him, it is already a story of grass to grace. Zil Nantamegwa started...

    Christine NakalungiOctober 21, 2016
  • Kalifah has never called anyone dad

    REINVENTING SELF: Since the flop of his concert, singer Kalifah Aganaga has been a little quiet. Last we heard, he had...

    Christine NakalungiOctober 15, 2016
  • People had hijacked my life – Faridah

        New beginnings: Social media was on Tuesday awash with photos of Faridah Nakazibwe’s wedding to boyfriend, Dr Omar Ssali...

    Christine NakalungiOctober 15, 2016
  • What Queen of Katwe means to them

    Katwe experience: Based on the vibrant story of Phiona Mutesi, whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game...

    Christine NakalungiOctober 7, 2016
  • How to be… the no-nonsense Jennifer Musisi

    KCCA bosslady: She is probably the most popular woman in Kampala, and no – not for scandals or anything else, but...

    Christine NakalungiOctober 7, 2016
  • Meet a celeb : How Pablo wants to be remembered

    Rib-cracker: He is among the first Stand up comedians in Uganda. Today Kenneth Kimuli aka Pablo is a household name in...

    Christine NakalungiOctober 7, 2016