5 Traditional African Dances You Should Watch Right Now

In Africa, dance has different meanings and serves a wide range of purposes.

From healings and marriages to wars and baptisms, each dance performance and rhythm reflect the culture and deep beliefs of the people. Here are a few traditional African dances you should see:

1. Sabar Dance – Dakar, Senegal


Sabar is a quick-paced urban dance from Senegal. It is performed for baptisms, marriages, and other traditional celebrations with unique Sabar drums.

2. Jaandheer or the Big Leap Step Dance – Somaliland, Somalia


Jaandheer means a big leap or a big step in Somali. It is a happy dance, played in most Somali weddings and festive occasions. It also features a tricky spinning move, which can leave you dizzy after several trials.

3. Zulu Dance – South Africa


Traditional Zulu dancing is an integral part of the Zulu culture. Dancing is usually performed during a traditional Zulu ceremony, and it comes with vibrant singing and sometimes drums’ beating. Zulu dancing is quite spectacular, mostly when men and women dress in their traditional attire.

4. The Maasai Jumping Dance – Kenya / Tanzania


Adumu is a Maasai word for ‘jump’. It means jumping up and down in dance. The “adumu” (“jumping dance”) is a Maasai warrior rite of passage. It is a coming-of-age ceremony for young men – a ceremony for warriors. They must not let their heels touch the ground.

5. The Umhlanga Reed Dance – Swaziland, Eswatini


Umhlanga is both a dance and a ceremony. Up to 40 000 Swazi maidens dress up in brightly colored attire, gather and dance for the Queen Mother. This is a cultural event done as a tribute to the Royal Family.

The event takes place within a week (normally the last in August) but is mostly private. However, the final two days are public and they are indeed a sight to behold.

Which of these African dances fascinates you the most?



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