Uganda has a variety of tribes right from the south up to the north.Each of these tribes has a signature cultural traditional dance that describes who they are.All these dances are composed based on tribal traditional activities from all sphere of life.Many of them are based on harvest,sex and marriage,romance,reproduction never the less politics.
A safari to Uganda will certainly guarantee you an opportunity to be entertained by traditional dances from several regions of Uganda not only to entertain but to educate you musically and through dance.
`In Uganda, communities generally use music and dance to celebrate the “life-cycle’’ in rite and rituals; to worship, praise and petition,to celebrate work and as a form of community recreation.
Thus dance was and still is in many communities outside the hub of towns, a part of the day-to-day life-sharing and disseminating cultural values to different generation.
Dance is value-ridden and communities emphasize different aspects of life like the courtship wwith dances such as Lamakwog (Lakaraka) among the Acholi, Naleyo among the Karamojong, Irongo (twin dance) in Busoga, and many others.
Dances of Uganda take on a pattern that mirrors the physical environment of the different nationalities.Hilly areas have dances that emphasize upper body and waist movements.This generally cuts across the country whenever there is hilly terrain, with the exception of the Bakiga who, while in hilly Kabale, emphasise strong energetic jumping.
Dances from the plains on the other hand emphasise complex footwork and head movements, with very little or limited waist movements.
Over time however, as dances meet at festivals and other functions, there has been a lot of borrowing and copying to augment one`s dance expression-a tribute to the dynamism of African culture.
All dances today have adopted the upper body and waist elements and the intricate footwork and usage of the head to enhance the dances.At many dances performances, especially socially social gatherings where traditional dance is part of the entertainment menu, the head,waist,neck and ankles are highlighted for the dance by use of bandanas,ankle bells, bracelets and beads.It is also away of beautifying the dancers.
However, some dances have withstood the test of time, staying very much the same as they have been for hundreds of years.In the proceeding pages, we look at some of the dances that make Uganda, the `pearl of Africa’ also the `Heart beat of Africa.’