From the north to South, East to West, Uganda is endowed with numerous tribes (totaling to over 54 tribes), each with interesting cultures as well as traditional dance moves that will blow your mind. Each of these dances is a symbol of identity, unity and custom among the people and while on your cultural tour, make sure to experience some of the listed traditional dances that include;
1. The Bakisimba dance of the Baganda
This is one of the commonest and most enjoyed traditional dances by tourists in Uganda, and is said to be inspired by the drunken moves of one of the Kings of Buganda. It is believed that while on a party, the Kabaka drunk the local brew-Tonto made from banana and became intoxicated but according to culture, the King is never drunk but instead happy. Due to too much happiness, he said “Abakisimba bebakiwoomya” meaning the people that planted banana made it sweet. It’s from his dances that subjects started imitating him and musicians composed a song and used several instruments (such as trumpets, gourd rattles, Ngalabi and different drums including Mbuutu, Mpuunyi and Nankasa) to make the rhythm more captivating.
2. Runyege and Entogoro dance
This is a courtship dance for the Batooro and Banyoro and is performed by the vibrant men to the women they are attracted to, and is specifically danced at the time of choosing partners for marriage. The dance derived its name from the rattles-locally referred as Entogoro or binyege that are always tied on the legs of boys to make the exciting sounds and rhythms that are syncopated as the main beat of the dance much as it is blended with drum rhythms and songs.
3. Ekitaguriro Dance
This old dance belongs to the Banyankole people of western Uganda and is performed by both women and men to show love for cattle, that is undeniably the pride of these people. The invigorating stamping movements of the men during this dance are similar to the movements of the cow while the hands of the women shows the long beautiful horns of the cow.
4. Mwanga Dance
Belonging to the Bagishu or the “Bamasaba” of the highlands of Eastern Uganda, Mwanga dance is normally performed during the time of public circumcision (locally known as “Imbalu” during the even-numbered years.
5. Bwola dance
The Acholi people of Northern Uganda are one of the few tribes with numerous traditional dances with the Bwola dance being one of them. In a circular pattern, the dance is performed by older women and men, each carrying a drum representing the fence of the Kingdom. Usually the movement of the feet rhythmically matches with the beating of the drums with women dancing separately inside the circle without beating drums.
6. Larakaraka Dance
Also belonging to the Acholi people, the Larakaraka is a Courtship dance performed during weddings and introduction ceremonies. When boys from a particular village are ready for marriage, the ceremony is organized so that potential partners can meet and surprisingly, only the best dancers will get partners hence a lot of competition.
7. Ekizino dance
The Bakiga people of Kigezi highlands take pride in their Ekizino dance, performed when the king heads to settle conflicts within the Kingdom hence the reason it is known as the Court Dance.
8. Adungu Dance
Adungu is one of the interesting traditional dances performed by the Alur people of West Nile sub-region and is accompanied by an instrument-locally known as “Adungu”. Participants usually include young girls and boys, requiring energetic jumping in a particular pattern.
9. Akembe Dance
The Akembe Dance is a courtship dance performed by the Iteso people from the Teso sub-region (Eastern Uganda) and is accompanied by soft music played on melodic instruments.
Other Traditional dances in Uganda include the Gaze dance of the Lugbara people, Irongo dance of the Basoga in eastern Uganda and many others.