In the late nineties, when we had what was the Ajegunle phase of Nigerian music with artistes like Baba Fryo, Marvelous Benjy and others, we were introduced to this dance style. I’ve lumped the swo and galala together because in my opinion they’re pretty much the same dance or at least very similar i.e. very razz. I can’t think of any one artiste who first introduced us to the galala, but I remember it was marvelous Benjy (wonder what happened to the guy) who gave us Swo – na the new dance wey dey reign.
After Iyanya had tried the R&B route and it didn’t seem to be werking for the Nigerian market, he decided to turn the corner straight into some Nigerian traditional steez and thus the world (well Nigeria at least) got introduced to the etighi dance. The song and dance became insanely popular and shot Iyanya to the limelight. From children’s parties to owambes around the world, Nigerians were definitely loving the etighi.
Olamide has pretty much established his position as a hit maker with this song and the accompanying dance. Once you hear “It’s young Jon the Wikid produzer” everyone pretty much loses their behaviour. Shoulders start to move, feet start to shuffle across the floor and legs get raised in the air. Nobody is too cool for the shakitibobo. The shakitibug has bitten us and we are not complaining.
Following closely on the heels of Iyanya’s Kukere/Etighi success, was the Sekem from comedian-turned-musician, MC Galaxy. It appears more Nigerian artistes decided to try the same formula of having a dance to go with your song. And this one was simple and fun, all you had to do was shuffle across the floor with one hand on your chest and the other on your waist.
Original credit for this one goes to Lil Kesh, who nobody had ever heard of before this song came out. And with the song came the shoki dance, which looked somewhat confusing at first. But then Orezi came along with his own Shoki song which had more illustrative lyrics, that helped more people understand the dance. Hands outstretched, going down to the ground, coming back up and giving themselves ela, Nigerians looked ridiculous on dance floors all over the world but when did that ever stop us. What is undeniable however, is the versatility of the dance, I mean you can shoki from the club on a Saturday night into praise and worship on a Sunday morning.
Technically, only technically this is not exactly a Nigerian dance. I believe it is Ghanaian in origin, BUT Nigerians, in typical Nigerian fashion adopted (stole) the dance and it is now ours. Argue in your compound. Infact, our very own brothers Peter and Paul remixed it and named it the Alingo. Anyway, the azonto was the coolest dance and everyone wanted to learn it so much that everyday there was a new YouTube tutorial to break it down. It was also one dance you could do to almost any song, which helped make it even more popular.
This one I’m quite reluctant to include in this list. I wish the alanta never happened. And we have one hit wonder – Artquake to blame for this. When instruction for the dance begins with “Open your arms like say you wan fly away”, you already know to expect the worst and it wasn’t complete without the ugly facial expressions which made people dancing it look retarded, but this dance caught on like wild fire. It soon fizzled out (thankfully) and all was well with the world again.
if we missed any, you better let us know in the comment box below!