Top 10 Popular Dance styles In Nigeria And Their Sources [+TUTORIALS]


When we talk about dance, it involves moving the body to the rhythm and beats of an organized sound. In different cultures and backgrounds, dance styles are adopted to reflect different things. A dance style could be telling a story or expressing an idea, or it could also be expressing an emotion. In Nigeria, dances teach social patterns and values and help people work, mature, praise or criticize members of the community while celebrating festivals and funerals, competing, reciting history, proverbs and poetry. Over the years, dance styles in Nigeria have evolved from one dance step to the other. Different performing artists come up with different dance styles that suit their rhythm. Here are a few dance steps we have so far seen in Nigeria that are making the most waves:

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DANCE STYLE #1: Azonto 

Azonto is one of the most recent dance craze that has taken the world by storm since the latter end of 2011. This one is from Ghana but was popularized in Nigeria by Wizkid and then, Fuse ODG. It is an expressive and communicative dance that lets you communicate what you may have in mind while the music is going on. It begun with one or two-step movements but has effectively evolved from a few basic moves to miming actions such as ironing of clothes, washing, driving, boxing, praying, swimming, and others meant to amuse an audience. It allows you get creative as you create your own dance pattern. Just like most African dances, Azonto involves knee bending and hip movements.

DANCE STYLE #2: Gangnam Style

“Gangnam Style” is the 18th K-pop single by the South Korean musician Psy. The phrase “Gangnam Style” is a Korean neologism that refers to a lifestyle associated with the Gangnam District of Seoul. The song and its accompanying music video went viral in August 2012 and have influenced popular culture worldwide since then. “Gangnam Style” received mixed to positive reviews, with praise going to its catchy beat and Psy’s amusing dance moves (which themselves have become a phenomenon) in the music video and during live performances in various locations around the world. As the song continued to rapidly gain popularity and ubiquity, its signature dance moves were attempted by many notable political leaders such as the British Prime Minister David Cameron, U.S. President Barack Obama, and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who hailed it as a “force for world peace”.

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DANCE STYLE #3: Galala

The Galala dance is like the official dance for the Nigerian ghetto community. The dance was promoted by musicians who are products of the ghetto hood such as Daddy Showkey, African China, Baba Fryo and even Burna Boy in ‘Run My Race’. The Galala dance involves the legs being moved backward with hands forward. Many have credited Daddy Showkey as the Galala Creator while others say it is Father U-turn. However, one thing we know is that it is synonymous with Reggae Music.

DANCE STYLE #4: Alingo

The Alingo dance is one of the most recent dance moves popularized by the twin duo, P-Square in their song titled ‘Alingo.’ The dance is a fast one, and demands much energy because it’s kinda similar to break-dancing. “Alingo” became popular due to its popular and somewhat controversial dance moves. Furthermore, they went on to say that the pace of the dance makes it complicated for a lot of people. When the duo uploaded the music video for “Alingo” onto YouTube, they received a lot of criticism from people who felt the dance moves bear close resemblance to the Azonto dance.

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DANCE STYLE #5: Alanta

Alanta Dance is an original Nigerian dance that started in 2007 in Ajegunle, a suburb of Lagos. It was released by Artquake in a musical video, “Alanta” and like most African dances, it requires vigorous movements of the hand, hips and leg. The dance style uses a patterned movement of the hands as if fanning flames while raising one leg, and the lyrics explain the movement sequence: “E be like fire, dey burn my body. Je kin fera, oru n mu mi” which when translated means: “It looks like fire is burning my body. Let me fan myself, I’m feeling hot.” This dance shows the rich creativity and humor of the Nigerian people. The Alanta dance craze was helped popularized by Nigerian musicians like Artquake, Terry G, TimayaTuFace Idibia, etc.

DANCE STYLE #6: Skelewu

Davido’s Skelewu became a Mega hit. He shot two videos for the addictive song which also came with a dance. However, Dammy krane laid claim to the dance moves as many critics claimed it resembled the artist’s Gbetiti dance.. Skelewu was and is still the one we know sha..

DANCE STYLE #7: Etighi 

Etighi is one of the new-school dances brought from the Calabar/Akwa Ibom part of Nigeria. It involves the hips being carried up and alternated in left and right direction. It also can be mixed with azonto as you can have the hips up and the hands doing the azonto. It’s popular in songs like ‘Kukere’ amongst others. Iyanya clicked the right buttons and launched the Etighi dance which is a dance from where he hails. Although other artists have released music videos with the etighi dance style, Iyanya’s Kukere remains the most recognized.

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Oya Sekem, one hand for your waist… This was one of the favourite songs of Mama Peace. MC Galaxy assisted by Tspize d producer made the song a hit and the dance went viral.


Consistent hit maker Olamide made a massive hit from the song, ‘Shakititi bobo,’ which came with a nice dance style. The dance has since gone viral and though an upcoming artiste claimed Olamide stole the Bobo dance style from him, the dance step is still popular and accepted.

DANCE STYLE #10: Shoki

Shoki is one of the most loved dance style in Nigeria, and it seems to match every beat. The originator is disputed but the battle is between Lil Kesh and Orezi. Apart from the dance style, the Shoki slang has also penetrated almost every higher institution in the country.

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Other dance steps worthy of mention are:

SuO by Danfo drivers/Marvelous Benji

Yahooze by Olu Maintain

Awor by Kcee, Harrysong, Iyanya

Gbetiti by Dammy Krane

Ijo Oloti by Omo Akin

The list is almost inexhaustible. Feel free to add up the ones you feel were omitted and also tell us which of the above mentioned dance style is your favorite and which of them you are good at?

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