Nigerians love to dance – it is somewhere in our DNA. Many Nigerian artists know this, so they are always making songs for the hottest dance, or – for the more creative ones – creating a new dance move for fans to rock to and increase the shelf life of their songs.
Over the years, numerous dance steps have been introduced by various artistes but very few have actually gone viral and rocked the dance floors. Some of these dance steps where not invented by Nigerian artists, but the moment they crossed into our airwaves, we made them our own, and created mad jamz around them. We have checked, and these are the top 13 Nigerian dances of all time.
Enjoy, share and do not forget to dance.
In many ways, makossa may have been the first dance trend of the 2000s. The dance trend rode on the spread of a very rhythmic Congolese sound of the same name. Riding on the wave, artistes like Koffi Olomide and Awilo Longomba toured the continent with their massive hit songs and everywhere they went, Makossa became a wave, a vibe and everything else, especially in Nigeria.
Makossa means “dance” in the native tongue of Cameroon’s Douala; and it really made us dance.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R11Q-ppsNXU&w=560&h=315]
This dance step is associated with “the ghetto” or Ajegunle, Lagos. It originated from the pseudo-reggae sound made popular by artistes like Ras Kimono, Blacky, Fada U Turn, etc. However, Daddy Showkey will be most remembered as the instigator of the dance; it is as much a part of his identity as his long dreadlocks.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ilq0uDPiKA&w=560&h=315]
Suo came in not too long after Daddy Showkey’s Galala. One could say it was an offspring of the former as it originated in the same Ajegunle ghetto as Daddy Showkey’s music.
The most popular vehicle for the dance was Marvellous Benjy’s “Suo” which was a massive hit at the time. The duo of Mad Melon and Mountain Black, known as the Danfo Drivers, also carried the dance style on their backs.
This was a very unique but crazy dance movement originated by a group called “Artquake“. It involved a crazy movement of the arms and legs in an alternate manner and crazy facial expressions that were slightly debasing, beating an imaginary drum on the stomach. Alanta could genuinely put you in a state of shock and dismay. Terry G also promoted this dance movement with his free madness series.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72rRXTgw96M&w=560&h=315]
Olu Maintain is to be thanked for this. The Kennis Music star released “Yahooze” in 2008 and created madness across the country. It involved popping two figures in the air in the like manner of spraying imaginary money. As usual, it started all simple, until Nigerians got more crazy with it and developed its steps to various styles. Yahooze was a force that launched an artiste’s solo career, and dominated the country for a year and some.
Azonto became popular in Nigeria thanks to Ghanaian singer Fuse ODG whose monster hit song ‘Azonto’ featuring Tiffany was released on the 27th of Oct 2011. It gained more popularity when Wizkid did a freestyle on it and when the video above went viral, gaining more views than even the official video by Fuse. It has gone on to become one of the greatest dance movement in the last decade, spreading from Ghana to other African countries and Europe.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTUIlOudlHI&w=560&h=315]
Etighi originated from Calabar/Akwa Ibom region of Nigeria. It became mainstream popular when Iyanya; who is from this region released the video for his hit single, Kukere in 2012.
Etighi had a brief but intense lifespan because it was the simplest of dances but if you take a closer look, it is there in many dance routines.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBoV1VSpKLo&w=560&h=315]
The Nigerian Afro-pop singer, Davido wowed everyone with his hit single realesed on Aug 18, 2013, Skelewu, and followed it up with a beautiful dance step to promote the song. The song gave the Nigerian artist recognition home and abroad; most memorable was when it was played during the half time of a Spanish La Liga match.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6zixMk7gnQ&w=560&h=315]
Shoki will be remembered as one of Nigeria’s most controversial dance steps because about three acts claimed to be its originator. They are Dre San, Lil Kesh and Orezi. It had bubbled underground in Lagos for a year before Lil Kesh gave himself and the style a massive push with the release of his hit single “Shoki” in 2014. Leaving the originator issue behind, Shoki was a hit, considering how easy it is.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctCcb48gYS4&w=560&h=315]
Sekem dancers are lovely to watch. The jolly sideways, back and forth moves is the beauty of the dance step created by MC Galaxy on his hit track Sekem. It had a brief life span as it was Simple but cost us our footwears.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1X-CoKYRFE&w=560&h=315]
11. Shakiti Bobo
This dance begins and ends with the self-styled King of the Streets, Olamide. In 2015, Olamide released another one of his sneak attacks on radio and the clubs titled “Bobo”.
In what looked like a mere freestyle when it was first released, Olamide’s Bobo became a monster hit when its visuals was released with a trending dance step that many embraced with both arms. Bobo became so famous that it sneaked into churches across the federation.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFmZKO35SfQ&w=560&h=315]
12. Shaku Shaku
This is another controversial dance step which blew up at the end of 2016 but those who are more familiar with its origins claim it has been a rave in Agege for two years and counting. Songs like “Shepeteri” and “Legbegbe” became massive sleeper hits while riding the shaku wave, and their successes elevated the careers of two underground acts that you would do well to pay attention to, “Mr Real” and “Slimcase”.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5aGdpqNO8w&w=560&h=315]
Zanku is currently the freshest dance step of them all. It was introduced by Zlatan Ibile in late 2018, and it involves plenty of ten-ten like foot marches and karate-like jump kicks locally called gbeing body.
Some of the biggest Zanku songs include Chinko Ekun’s Able God featuring Zlatan and Lil kesh, Burna Boy and Zlatan’s Killin Dem, etc.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tupb4xV-15w&w=560&h=315]
Some other worthy mentions are:
- Alingo (P square)
- Gwara Gwara etc