Africa is known for its rich diversity in music and dance. 2018 was no different as the continent witnessed some of the best dance styles ever created. From North to South, East to West, there is no doubt these dance styles that were trending throughout the entire year will continue to captivate participants and audiences in the years to come. It is amazing to see how creativity has been perfectly infused with African culture and trends to create amazing dances that will tempt you to join the dance floor. It is expected these dance sensations will continue to remain popular in 2019 as the continent awaits new dances.
Let’s take a look at the African dance styles that set the trends in 2018.
1Shaku Shaku Dance – Nigeria
Shaku Shaku is a Nigerian sensation street dance style that took not only the African continent but the entire world by storm. Ever since Shaku Shaku hit, people just can’t seem to get over it. Shaku Shaku has continuously gained popularity and shows no signs of letting up. The dance steps come in various varieties and are likened to those of a drunk person. They typically involve entire body movement including the arms and legs. The dance is a freestyle and traces its origins from the streets. Shaku Shaku is today referred to as Nigeria’s Gangnam Style.
2Odi Dance – Kenya
Odi dance is a Kenyan dance sensation that is commonly associated with the youth. Started by a gospel professional dancer and artist, Timeless Noel, Hype Ochi and Jabiddi, gospel dancehall artist, Odi dance was started to attract more youth to the gospel of Christ. ‘Odi’ is a slang word for ordinary. The target of the dance were ghetto (slum and low income neighborhood) youths based on the group’s belief that despite Jesus being an extraordinary person, he came into the world as an ordinary person and mingled with everyone despite of their social status. The dance has become not only a national sensation but popular across the entire African continent.
3Gwara Gwara Dance – South Africa
In 2018, Gwara Gwara dance, a South African viral dance went international. Started by DJ Bongz, the dance entails lifting and swinging one leg while getting the entire body involved including the arms in synch with the leg movement. The peak of the Gwara Gwara was when it was performed in the 2018 Grammy Awards Ceremony. Some of the international artists who’ve performed and danced Gwara Gwara include Rihanna.
4Rosalina Dance – Democratic Republic of Congo
The list of 2018 top African dances cannot be complete without the famous Rosalina dance that originated from BM’s song Rosalina. Originating from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rosalina which means “Break Your Back” became an instant hit in 2018 with fans across the continent taking part in numerous dance challenges. This a high adrenaline dance with electrifying moves thanks to the impressive Congolese beat that sets the pace for the rhythm. The dance involves systematic movement of the legs, arms, waist and the entire body.
5Pilolo Dance – Ghana
Pilolo is famous Ghanaian dance step that was a big hit across the continent and globally in 2018. The creator of Pilolo, Zigi is also known for previously releasing Kupe, a famous dance challenge that took everyone by storm. From the streets of Ghana, Pilolo became a hit in New York City with Janet Jackson performing both Kupe and Pilolo at the end of her performance “Made for Now” on “The Tonight Show” starring Jimmy Fallon. The name Pilolo was borrowed from a hide and seek game popular among Ghanaian kids. Zigi in an interview explained he came up with the steps in the evening while making preparations to shoot a dance video.
6Malwedhe/Idibala Dance – South Africa
Malwedhe is no doubt South Africa’s biggest dance in 2018 that rapidly spread its wings to an international audience. The dance is a product of King Monada’s hit song “Malwedhe” that means illness in Sepedi language. In this dance, fans fall to the ground when the chorus “ke na le bolwedhe bao idibala” (I have an illness of fainting) is sang. Videos of the dance craze have emerged from far abroad countries such as China. The simulating collapse or fainting is loved by everyone but non-profit organizations dealing with epilepsy have complained the dance mocks epileptic individuals. Others have raised concerns about the possibility of getting injured when one falls to the ground. The Malwedhe/Idibala challenge took the continent by storm.
7Black Panther/Wakanda – Africa/Diaspora
After the release of Black Panther movie that was a worldwide hit, fans began a dance that rapidly sent shockwaves throughout Africa. The dance is a testament to how fans were really excited with Black Panther. There is no doubt, Wakanda dance was a force to reckon with in 2018. Interestingly, Africans living in the diaspora as well as non-Africans were all on board having fun.
8Vosho Dance – South Africa
Vosho is a famous South African dance that involves kicking and squatting at the same time. In recent times, Vosho has turned its focus on the head that has replaced the kicking and squatting. Instead, you only need to dance and lean your head forward in line with the rhythm of the dance tunes. In a short while, there were numerous videos of this dance posted online.
9Kwangwaru Dance – Tanzania
Kwangwaru dance style from Tanzania originates from Kwangwaru, a famous East African hit by Tanzanian artists Harmonize and Diamond Platnumz. Upon releasing the song in 2018, the Kwangwaru dance immediately picked up momentum with fans across the continent uploading their Kwangwaru dance challenges on social media. There is no doubt, as big as the Kwangwaru hit is, this dance move is expected to remain a craze in the coming days.
10Kpakujemu – Nigeria
Kpakujemu from Nigeria features among the top African dances of 2018. The dance originates from Kpakujemu, a track by Olamide, Terry, Bhary, Jay and Lyta. The highly electrifying dance moves are associated with this dance craze whose roots have spread far and wide. It is expected Kpakujemu dance challenges will continue in 2019.
11Bonus: Kupe Dance
The KupeChallenge is named after the song featured in the original video; Kupe Dance by Ghana’s A-Star who is also responsible for the Chocobodi dance challenge. The Kupe dance was not just about the dance, but also about good looks, style and swag.