My Uganda: Uganda’s Traditional Dance Moves

Uganda, “The pearl of Africa”

For the jewelry pearl lovers, a thought of “the world’s finest, high-quality, stylish, classic pearl is perfect. “As beautiful, lovable, valuable pearls are; so is Uganda”. But now, it’s about that one thing every Ugandan is proud of; “Uganda traditional dance moves”

Every tribe in Uganda has traditional dances which act as a symbol, identity and custom of the people. The traditional dances are unique, interesting, and meaningful and most of all portrays richness of our daily lifestyle. The dances have specific shouts or ululations’, beating of drums by the drums men, blowing whistles before they are performed. The songs sang are well-endowed with a great art of poetry, proverbs and rhythm. “Every dance is a reflection of supreme unity, dedication, passion and pride from the community”.

Dance costumes/attires. The traditional dance attires are rich in color with traditional symbols of elegance and beauty which flatters every lifestyle and body type. To wear the cultural attire is to reflect the purity of love, the mystery of creation and to know that you are adorned with the finest, most fashionable attire in the whole world.

For tourist, well-wishers, and travelers to visit Uganda; what I highly recommend for you is “the Uganda traditional dance move- any, depending on the region you are visiting”. Being blessed with hospitable, generous, kind, loving and entertaining people, they are always willing to let you experience their real, natural source of happiness drawn from the enriched pot of traditional dances. “That’s my gift to you direct from the Pearl of Africa”

Being real other than persuasive, our traditional dances are God given; a treasure and value we pride in; so strong and unbreakable. It is passed from generation to generations. It never fades and always trendy. The proudly displayed dances, songs, cultural attire will leave you with a feeling of joy, happiness and strength to live more years on earth; the only words that will hover in your mind and memory would be…” God must be great in HIS creation, I wish….”. We portray great art of talent in body movements and love that leaves you both wishing for more and shaking to the rhythm.

If in doubt with my words…, a visionary on a quest to spread culture, it is my dream and pride to take you through some of the cultural dances in Uganda

Central Uganda

Kiganda dance

The kiganda dance hails from the Buganda people from the central region and is the dominant Bantu speaking ethnic group in central Uganda. Baganda have three predominant dances; Bakisimba, Muwogola and Nankasa all inspired by their daily life.

The beauty in Kiganda dance are the graceful circular waist movements, elegant tip toeing of the feet, flawless spreading of the hands proudly moving them upward or forward at the elbow joint just at the flow of the song and dance.

 Amaggunju dance

This is a royal dance from Buganda – Central Uganda. It was formed for the purpose of entertaining a young King and has movements made to this effect.

Northern Uganda

Larakaraka Dance

This is a ceremonial dance from the Acholi in the Northern part of Uganda popularly known as “Acholi land”. They are believed to be blessed with the riches cultural dances. Other dances includes; bwola, lalobaloba, otiti, myel awal, apiti, aije, labongo, myel wanga, Ding ding and atira.

Larakaraka dance is a courtship dance that is performed during weddings. When the youth in a particular village are ready for marriage, they organize a big ceremony where all potential partners meet. Only the best dancers will get partners, so there is a lot of competition during the dancing. “In Acholi, if you are a poor dancer, you will likely die a bachelor or spinster.” 

Bwola dance

This one of the most prestigious dances in the world; “A royal dance by the Acholi people from Northern Uganda” performed for their King (Rwot). The men form a large circle and each carries a drum. The movement of the feet matches rhythmically with the beating of the drums. The women dance separately inside the circle without beating drums. The dance has a leader who moves by himself within the circle and sets the time and leads the singing. He is regarded as an important person and traditionally was among the few in the community allowed to wear a leopard

Western Uganda

Ekitaguriro dance

This dance comes from the Ankole region. It is an old dance for both men and women. It is occasionally performed to demonstrate the love of the Ankole people for their cattle “their best friends”. This cattle breed has very long horns so making the dance aerial. They depend on its products in all aspects of life. This dance depicts movements made by these beautiful long horned cattle and sing to imitate the sounds made by these cows. The energetic stamping movements of the men in this dance are similar to the walking movements of a cow, and the hands of the women just demonstrate the long beautiful horns of the cow.

Orunyege or Entogoro dance

Courtship dance from Bunyoro-Kitara and Tooro Kingdoms in Western Uganda. The dance takes its name from the pod rattles (locally known as ebinyege) that the boys tie on their legs to make different rhythms as they dance. The dance is both ceremonial and cultural and it is mainly performed by the youth from this tribe when it’s time to choose their partners for marriage.

The Amakondere dance in Tooro is specifically danced only in the presence of the King (Omukama) for entertainment- Unique with rare dance moves, unique instruments like trumpets made out of horns aimed at making the King happy.

Eastern Uganda

Mwamgu/Imbalu dance

This dance is performed by the Bagishu in the Eastern part of Uganda. “Men are not men regardless of age until when circumcised”. This dance is performed to excite and prepare the young boys for the circumcision ceremony. The ritual determines manhood and respect from the community. For a boy to turn into a man he must go through the cultural /ritual circumcision (imbalu) done every year.

Southern Uganda

Ekizino dance

Ekizino is a dance from the Bakiga people of the Kigezi region in southern Uganda. The weather in this region is similar to that of many European mountainous countries, and the region is often called the “Switzerland of Africa”. During colder seasons, Ekizino is the warm-up dance. Kigezi is a hilly region, the men who go out for farming early in the morning, must jump around for a while to get warm and also stretch their muscles after the hard work. Traditionally, the people also used to stamp the ground until they found signs of water. Therefore, this dance represents their jumping and stamping.

“If you really want to experience real, soul lifting, cultural dance, Uganda is the place to think about. You will explore the very best of all in the whole world”.



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My Uganda: Uganda’s Traditional Dance Moves

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  1. These cultural dances all look wondeful – thanks so much for sharing this part of Uganda’s culture. We are visiting Uganda next year as part of a year or more in Africa and will certainly look forward to experiencing this enchanting cultural experience.


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