Monday, January 14, 2013

Ghanaian Azonto Dance - History & Featured Videos

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part I of a two part post on the Azonto dance. This post provides information about the Azonto dance, and also features five videos of that dance.

Click for Part II of this post. That post features seven additional videos of the Azonto dance.

The content of this post is published for historical, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

"Azonto is a dance originating from Ghana. The African dance form incorporates complex co-ordinates body movement and non-verbal communication in a rhythmic fashion in very few one-two timed steps. Just like most African dances, knee bending and hip movements are rudiments to dancing it. The dance has effectively evolved from a few rudimentary moves to embrace depictions of ironing,washing, driving, boxing, grooming, praying, swimming, and others.

Generally, the dance reflects the creativity, intelligence, and rich sense of humour of the Ghanaian people. The dance, which is usually performed with an accompanying smile, evolved from the combination of several local dance moves that originated from Ghana during the early 2000s. The dance has evolved with the fast pace dance culture of modern West Africa. It is also true that before the dance became famous, youth in senior high schools of Ghana had a similar but different way of doing the dance. A modification of that is what we see today. It involved a similar movement of the feet, hands, and hips and, at the end of every move, a gun shot was mimicked with the hand and, if possible, the mouth...

The dance was first called "Apaazee Renetta Kojo" (which means work) by the people of Bukom. However,the term 'azonto' (a name which was given to the dance by the people of Tema) was popularly used by students of The Accra Academy to refer to life and later became accepted by the larger population as the name for the dance. The dance now known as Azonto was later observed in an evolved form among 'street communities' in Agona Abodom, Abossey Okai, Takoradi and certain suburbs of Accra (namely Korle-Gonno, La and Chorkor), in pubs, night clubs, & dance battles. Perhaps because of its apparent use of strength and vigor, and preference of the then popular and more sophisticated "crip walk" and "break dance" known in Ghana as 'cracking' in High Schools, the dance was seen as being less refined than alternate styles...

The dance was made very popular by Ghanaian football star Asamoah Gyan and in his goal celebrations for his club and during matches of the Black Stars.

Azonto has been further commercialized with its inclusion in music lyrics and music video clips. Azonto is now one of the hotest dance in a wide range of settings and occasions in Ghana. It has even become one of the dances in most churches in Ghana.
A video of Ghanaian football [soccer] star Asamoah Gyan dancing Azonto during the game in celebration of his goal is posted as Video #2 below.

Video #1: Azonto Dance Origination

Ghana Broadcasting, Uploaded on Jan 26, 2012

The Origination of the Azonto Dance which has gone beyond the borders of Ghana
Here are three comments from this video's viewer comment thread:

imaflychik, 2012
"Azonto is based on many traditional dance moves in Ghana and if those moves have a similarity with other African dance steps then that should not be a huge surprise because most of them originate from the same roots anyways. The unique thing about Azonto is that it is a communicative dance used to express so many different things so you do the basic and add whatever you want to express and ofcourse to diversify it people include other foreign moves which is no news, dats wat dance is all about."
Nio9ether, 2012
"Bukom is one of the areas where the Ga tribe reside who are traditionally into BOXING and fishing by trade. The dance is based on our traditional interests, which is why the guy in yellow "Bokum Banku" who was interviewed in this video, a pro BOXER is dancing like hes BOXING. The video made it clear .We are not copying any dance , we definately arent copying any soft American dances which are all rip offs of African dances anyway. didnt you listen to what was being said in the video?"...
Skillo Zoner. 2013
"hahahahaha. Boxing, the work of people from Bukom. No surprise that some the best African Boxers comes from there. From Azuma Nelson to Ike Quartey to Bukom Banku etc."

Video #2: Asamoah Gyan(AZONTO DANCE)

roxymat1, Uploaded on Oct 17, 2011

Video #3: Azonto Featured on BBC News - Could Ghana's new Azonto dance craze take over the world-.flv

ShowtimeGhana, Published on Jun 18, 2012

Video #4: U Media Films - Azonto - Fuse ODG Feat. Tiffany (OFFICIAL)

TonishaTagoe, Uploaded on Oct 27, 2011


Video #5: AZONTO DANCE............FROM GHANA

pizzarobonner, Uploaded on Oct 31, 2011

Thanks to the authors and commenters whose words are included in this post. Thanks also to all those who are featured in those videos, and thanks to the producers, song composers, and uploaders of those videos.

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