Encyclopedia of Kuduro Moves
Summary of Method and Guide to Reading the Encyclopedia
I derived the following entries mainly from YouTube videos of Kuduro dancing. Some of the videos were comprised of clips of individual moves, and each move was labeled by the person who posted the video. I also garnered several moves from episodes of television shows where a Kuduro dancer gave a lesson on certain Kuduro moves. Once I had created a list of Kuduro moves from those videos, I watched additional, informal videos of Kuduro to find other instances of these moves. Finding more examples of any given move not only assured me that particular move was indeed being used, but also helped me arrive at a better description of the move.
I also looked for textual confirmation of moves to improve the quality of the entries, and for some of them I found historical information, which I have included alongside the movement description. If the name of the move was expressed in the video orally but not written, I tried to guess the orthography of the names based on the pronunciation. Where I could not, I have not verified the spelling of the name. In these cases I have represented the name in the International Phonetic Alphabet, and the transcription appears in brackets as per convention.
Translation sources are marked in the text, although the words whose orthographic representation I was unable to obtain remain without translations. Unless otherwise indicated, translation is from Wordreference.com.The translations, also called glosses because they are not literal but are semantically correct, appear in single quotes next to the name of the move, as is the convention for glossing text.
For moves that I encountered which were codified, I have provided the appropriate Portuguese or Kimbundu name. English names are my invention and refer to common moves and features of movement which I saw frequently in many different types of videos, but were not identified—as far as I was able to tell— by practitioners. I have given these items what I hope are succinct and descriptive names, or, if they seem identical to codified moves in other dance forms, I have used the existing name. Exceptions to this include the moves On the ground and Michael Jackson; these are the names given to them by Kuduro dancers (“A Revolta”). For each move, I have included as much pertinent information as I could find; because there are varying amounts of information available, the amount of text for each entry is uneven.
At the end of each entry, I have included a list of videos which the given move can be seen in, as well as the titles and artists of songs that use the name of the dance move in their lyrics. These lists are by no means all-inclusive, but rather indicate a sample of the thousands of Kuduro videos available on YouTube. The videos which I utilized to provide further evidence for particular moves were chosen and included here because they are all of highly visible quality and the dancing is varied and well-performed. The videos are listed by their title at the end of each entry, and the information for finding the videos follows the entries in the bibliography, although they are alphabetized by the username of the individual or entity that posted the video. I have maintained the exact capitalization, spacing, and punctuation of the video titles, so they can be searched for and located on YouTube.
Boldface pink headings indicate the names of codified moves, as well as those common moves which I have assigned a descriptive name to; italicized entries subordinate to a boldface entry indicates a variation or specific style of the boldface move. The names of codified moves appear in the text in italics on every occasion for easy identification, regardless of the language of the move. The names which I have assigned to movement types and categories remain un-italicized as they are not established by the practitioners.
When reading the following entries, recall that Kuduro’s name comes from the Portuguese words for ‘hard ass.’ The movement is characterized by the opening and closing of the legs and isolations of the pelvis, with variation of bent and straight knees, the direction of stepping, the speed of movement, and the direction and trajectory of pelvic movement.
Andamento Ndombolo– ‘walking ndombolo’
Andamento Ndombolo is one of the most common and most frequently performed moves in Kuduro, both from performer to performer and within a given Kuduro set. Ndombolo (also N’dombolo, dombolo) is the name of a type of Congolese music and its accompanying dance, which are derivative of soukous, an older Congolese music form in turn an offshoot of rumba music. The rumba enjoyed its popularity in the Congos and countries influenced by Congolese music production and dissemination—including Angola, see Chapter 5 for discussion— from the 1930s to 1960s, and soukous from the 1960s to mid 1990s. Ndombolo, a faster-paced form with harder backbeats, became popular in the mid 1990s and continues to be popular (Stewart 2000, “Congo” n.d.).
Suki Mwenda, in her chapter “Traditional Drama Forms and Post Colonial Artistic Identities,” asserts that the Ndombolo dance is derived from men on the street of the Congolese cities of Brazzaville and Kinshasa, who would perform a self-congratulatory dance if they could elicit reactions from women passing by. The dance performed mimicked the actions of chimpanzees, which are important in Congolese culture (2001: 248). Francois Misser describes Ndombolo as imitating a generic lame monkey (1998), but Manda Tchebwa pins the development of Ndombolo on a particular primate, “Old Marcel” (2002). In her article “N’Dombolo: the Identity-based Postulation of the Post-Zaïko Generation,” she outlines the life of Old Marcel and his role in the creation of this dance form.
This “star primate,” of unspecified type, seems to have danced a mean rumba, although he may himself had physical disabilities. Unlike Mwendwa, Tchebwa attributes the dance’sdevelopment to the shegue— the street youth (Tchebwa 2002). This is a population we have already identified as a likely candidate for innovating new movement, although they may have been influenced by the actions of their elders which Mwenda describes. Tchebwa writes of the original Congolese Ndombolo,
It thrills with its intricate steps, its complex combinations […], miming a few ape-like poses and ticks in the process. And it is impossible to remain indifferent before the circular swaying of hips […]which, according to some immutable ritual, go from top to bottom and back up again, and the shuddering of those well-curved posteriors that swing between elegance and virtuosity, erotic suggestion and measured “savageness” [quotes in original]. (Tchebwa 2002)
These same features remain in Kuduro, where Andamento ndombolo is both a staple movement and a catch-all name, including mostly stationary movement as well as locomotor movement. One variation includes large, exaggerated walking, with both the front and back legs extending and swinging to step, which is well described by the word andamento, ‘walking’. The common characteristics of various examples of Andamento Ndombolo are the “intricate steps” mentioned above; there is a very rapid change of weight between feet, which may remain parallel to each other, cross, or become staggered front and back at any given moment of the dance. The knees are constantly moving as well, bending and straightening but also moving quickly within the dancer’s whole range of lateral motion, including very turned in. This can often create the illusion of rubbery or unstable legs. Weight change is not necessarily even; alternating ball- changes or other ways of syncopating the movement is common.
The upperbody is not one of the defining characteristics of Andamento Ndombolo, but it usually moves in reaction to the legs. The arms are often held out from the body which both keeps themout of the way of the knees as well as framing and contrasting the frantic, virtuosic movement of the legs with the calm torso.
In order to augment many different moves a dancer will give weight into a wall or another person; this increases mobility in their legs and pelvis. There are a few variations of this: if leaning against a wall, the dancer may face the wall or face away from the wall; in either case they will be in contact just with their hands. When interacting with another person, the two most common ways are to have a person bend forward to provide a flat back as support, or for someone to come behind the dancer and hold them by their waist, lifting them slightly off the ground so they can move with almost complete freedom.
Bum bum na te mexe– ‘ass in the mix’
With bent knees and the torso leaned slightly forward, the dancer moves the butt and hips side to side in a horizontal plane, hitting the outer limits of the mobility of the hips. The dancer may double the hits going left, left, right, left, right, right, for example. The rest of the body is still and is usually facing away from the audience.
Seen in: “Kuduro Facil de Aprender” Song: “Mexer o Bumbum” by Os Lambas
This isolation of the pelvis can be performed as its own autonomous move or as an embellishment to almost any other movement, and is one of the hallmarks of Kuduro, whose name, as mentioned above, means ‘hard ass.’ In its simplest version, the performer stands with slightly bent knees as they raise the butt by tilting the pelvis forward and contracting the lower back muscles. The virtuosity of this move is defined by the range of motion of the pelvis and the performer’s ability to create interesting and strong rhythms with it. The performer may look over one shoulder to draw attention to the isolated movement. Like other non-travelling movements, it is often used to create a qualitative contrast within a set of movement.
In the Câmbio, the dancer repeatedly opens and closes the legs with bent knees into turned-out and turned-in positions, then opens one leg all the way out to the side straight, with the heel on the floor; the other leg is still bent. The arms, which have been bent at the elbows moving from side to side across the body, straighten out to be parallel to the extended leg. The extended position is held for a moment, like a Freeze. The dancer then resumes the in-and-out movement of the knees, to open to the other side.
Seen in: “Essa é Câmbio”
The circumcision face or doll face (The name of this ‘move’ comes from Reuters (2009); this is the author’s description) are facial expressions that male Kuduro dancers make in isolation or while performing other moves. Many Angolan ethnic groups engage in male circumcision as initiation rites when boys reach adulthood, and dances, both masked and unmasked, are part of the ritual (Sheehan 2010:122). I believe the use of these faces as punctuation in a Kuduro performance is reflective not of the dance that accompanies the traditional circumcision/initiation rituals, but rather is imitative of the actual facial expressions that may arise during the rite and possibly the masks which are worn afterwards. This may be one way of holding on to or referencing the cultural practices of the agrarian and rural societies Luandan residents came from.
Contortion of the body is both part of the mimetic type movement, discussed below, and a show of virtuosity in its own right; the most common example is touching the foot to the head, usually while standing. To do this, the dancer bends one knee inwards and pulls the foot towards the head with one or both hands; the torso and head usually lean towards the raised foot to close the distance. This is in some ways a figurative amputation of the leg, in reference to the many people whose legs were amputated because of landmine damage during Angola’s civil war.
To complete a Cross-foot turn, the dancer crosses one foot in front of the other then turns over the back shoulder by keeping weight on the balls of the feet and uncrossing the heels; this is a half-rotation. To turn all the way around, the dancer will continue turning until the legs are again crossed. This move is used to connect other movement together, and to turn in order to perform towards new audience members.
Seen in: “Nu Passa Nada”
Da bobeira ‘foolishness’
This is a Charleston-esque/James Brown movement; the feet move in and out on the ground shifting the weight from the ball of one foot to the other with a slight rotation and sliding of the foot and knee. It seems to be a characteristic move of the performing group Os da Bobeira so possibly it is named after them.
Dança do kudi
In Dança do kudi the dancer keeps the standing knee slightly bent, and opens the other knee in a circle. The circle begins with the knee next to the standing knee moving out towards the side of the body, and involves the hips. The legs then switch roles, and the pelvis rolls over to the other side with the knee. The upper body leans in the direction of the opened knee. While the leg is opening to the side, the arm of that side makes a similar circle above the leg, as if it were causing the leg’s movement. In a variation, this can be done while bending the knees progressively more and more, and/or moving both knees and arms in their circles at the same time.
Seen in: “Aulas de Kuduro com a Titica”
Dança dos bad
For the Dança dos bad, the dancer stays in a bent knee, turned-out position and moves from the hip sockets down. In contrast to Andamento Ndombolo or other moves, in Dança dos bad, the knees move exclusively in and out laterally; although performers may take steps forward or back, sometimes crossing, the bowlegged position is maintained constantly. The movement of the upperbody is unspecified and varies from performer to performer.
Song: “Dança dos Bad” by Tarrachinhas
Dança dos caenches ‘dance of the muscular’ (Translation from F.)
Dança dos caenches is a series of moves in the following sequence; step touch, (pause), step touch (pause), step, step, step. I am using step touch to indicate a step on the right foot, the left foot closing near the right, with only a slight amount of weight, and then repeating to the other side, beginning with stepping out to the left. When the feet come together for the step touches, the legs are straight and the pelvis lifts a little at the suspended moment. In the quick steps, the knees are bent and the pelvis moves from side to side. Variations of this move include raising the knee high with a rhythmic accent in lieu of bringing it together to meet the other foot; the suspended rhythm is kept. Also, in the timing of the three quick steps, the dancer may keep the knee raised and turn around en dehors. The arms circle around each other at stomach level or lower to meet the raising knee.
Seen in: “Kuduro Facil de Aprender”
The Do fulante is similar to Dança do kudi, in that the knees move outwards in correlation to the circling arm. But in Do fulante, the pelvis circles on the horizontal plane while the leg movement is happening. These hip circles can then lead into a slow turn, where the hips continue to circle and the standing leg is pivoted around with small steps in conjunction with the hip circles.
Seen in: “Aulas de Kuduro com a Titica”
In this locomotor movement, the dancer walks with high knees and an exaggerated pelvis which juts out to the side on the lifted leg; the weight shifts when the legs switch. The walking may move the dancer forward or backward, and the arms can be held in any position. This is the base move that can be continued on its own, or serve as a constant which can be elaborated upon. Elaborations include a broken-down, more exaggerated walking wherein the lifted leg goes out to the side in a bent position, is brought to the front to be parallel to the standing leg, and then is lowered. This can be done switching legs or repetitively on one side, with a quick catch step to be able to lift the same leg more than once in a row. The hand of the same side of the body as the lifted leg may rest on the top of the knee, as if it were the impetus for the leg to close. Especially when done repetitively on one side, this is a move which becomes mimetic, representing the physically or mentally disabled. If this is the way it is being used, the rest of the body may become distorted, with loose wrists and hands and an overall off-balanced look.
Song: “Do Manganza” by Os Vagabanda
This move is defined by the position of the shoulders, which are raised by the ears. The arms can either be near the sides of the body or raised to be parallel to the ground, with the wrists limp. The dancer looks up with the head and eyes, either straight back or tilted to one side. The lower body has many variations, mostly quick, so that the stiff, held position of the torso and shoulders contrasts the movement of the lower body, which the lower arms react to. The legs may be straight and slightly spread apart and the pelvis is rocked forward and backwards. In another common variation the dancer rises and lowers from tiptoes to flat feet with small steps in tandem with the pelvis tilting.
Song: “Do Milindro” by Agre-G, Puto Dinho
There are a variety of moves that are done on the floor, usually towards the end of a turn in the circle, as a sort of ending punctuation. Examples include:
Sitting with legs straight out: Sitting on the ground with the legs extended in front, the dancer may not travel and rather move the arms and legs while in place, mimicking other standing moves, or scoot forward. The movement forward can be achieved by moving one hip at a time forward, or by a bending of the knees which pulls the butt forward and a straightening of the knees to start again, like an inch worm.
knee drags: Bending the legs so one knee touches the ground, then using the ‘standing’ leg to step forward and pull the back leg in; alternates legs like walking.
See Encyclopedia of B-boying Moves.
Seen in: “Buraka Som Sistema”
As in tap dance or Irish jig dancing, the Heel Click is performed by kicking one leg forcefully into the air with a bent knee and flexed foot. The other leg jumps into the air to meet the first and the heels of both feet touch in the air.
This move begins with a small jumping quickstep, out of which the dancer extends the right leg out straight to the side, then catch-steps to the other side, right foot then left foot, and extends the left leg. The arms move fluidly across the body in opposition to the extended leg. After the leg has been extended to each side, the pelvis is rotated forward quickly twice to hit the beat in an isolation. In variations of this move, the pattern of weight shifting and pelvic isolation repeats, but the position of the legs when the pelvis isolation happens can vary; a common variation includes one of the legs being lifted to a bent, open position to the side.
Seen in: “Aulas de Kuduro com a Titica”
Kicks are a type of Air Freeze which are common in contemporary B-boying. A Kick is a one- handed handstand where the upper body is almost parallel to the ground and the legs kick up to form various shapes; the position is held for a moment in the air, hence the category Air Freeze.
Seen in: “Buraka Som Sistema”
Knee Drops are also called pin drops in B-boying and the recent LA dance form called Jerking. Done from a standing position, one knee bends so that the foot is tucked in the back of the knee of the standing leg. The standing leg bends so that the tucked foot touches the ground; the weight is transferred to that foot and the dancer turns out of the position and stands up by pivoting on the balls of the foot and thereby uncrossing the feet. This move has a swift but suspended pace and quality, and is used as set-medial punctuation and a transition step.
This move is said to have been created by the kuduristas Nacobeta and Puto Portugûes, and its original name was Lava a mão ‘wash the body,’ but according to Kellystress007, “the people made it so that the move was called ‘Ladjum’” (“Ladjum”)*. The dancer maintains a posture of the feet and knees closed together and bent, while the legs and hips twist in opposition to the torso, and the arms move in opposition to the knees. There is a small step; if the right foot is stepping, it is closing in front of the left leg and the knees are on the left side of the body. To switch to the other side, the left leg will come from behind and twist the hips to the other side. It is usually done with a double step on one side, so for example the stepping foot would be: right, left, right, right, with the repeated right being just a tap of the foot or a pulsing of the pelvis.
The arms are relaxed in the shoulders and bent at the elbow with the forearm and often the wrists relaxed, which leads to a sort of floppy, old-style Vogue effect, or held straight parallel to the floor and slightly open, highlighting the action of the lower body. The stepping and twisting is specifically done to the beat of the music.
*My translation. Original Portuguese reads: “Mas o povo fez com que o toque se chama-se “Ladjum”.”
Seen in: “Ladjum”
Song: “Ladjum” by Nacobeta.
Ma/mi fode ‘fuck me’
Both spellings appeared in the videos these occurred in. Because of the semantic meaning of the move, I was unable to gain any additional information about it, or to verify its orthography. In this move the dancer makes small, medium tempo circles of the hips with the legs close together and mostly straight. The circles may be smooth or accented at certain parts of the circle, and the movement of the hips does not necessarily stay on a horizontal plane. The hands are held in a high prayer position, in front of chest or almost covering the face. It is often used for contrast in a set of movements, as it is smaller, calmer, and more nuanced than many other moves.
Song: with lyric “ma fode”, unknown title, artista, in “Kuduro Facil de Aprender”.
This is a mimetic move that reflects the stiffness of a store mannequin were it to move, like the mannequin dances of Electric Boogaloo. The dancer might add mannequin-like arm and torso movements while the legs are doing something quick, or the whole body might be part of the move, walking with distorted and stiff joints, for example.
Matuba ‘testicles’ (Translation from F.)
Matuba is a stationary movement of the pelvis and hips, but it is distinguished from mi fode and bum bum na ta mexe by the deep bend of the knees, involvement of the torso, and direction of hip rotation. The hips rotate on the vertical plane, and the undulation extends to the lower and upper back which may move in conjunction or in opposition to the hips; it’s often combined with sapo-like ripples through the back.
Songs: “Matuba yoyo” by DJ Olavo, “Matuba yoyo” by Os Vagabanda.
Called Michael Jackson by practitioners on the TV show Tchilar, this is The Moonwalk, or Back Glide, as described in the entry Glides in the Encyclopedia of B-boying moves.
Seen in: “A revolta do kuduro”
Mimetic movement/movement qualities
There are several different ‘characters’ that Kuduro dancers may act out. The following are the most common, and the descriptions are of the elements of the impression most frequently performed. Like all performative mimetic movement, the context of the performer and performance greatly influences the character being imitated, as there may be specific references that a given audience would appreciate more than others.
Elderly: Examples of movement types include miming achiness, performing moves slowly, and turning in a circle with one hand on the knee and the other hand on the back as if these areas of the body were painful or sore. Homosexual: Examples of movement types include floppy hands, exaggerated hips when walking, and feminine, model-like poses.
Mentally or physically handicapped: Examples of movement types include limping, making distorted faces, tripping or faltering when walking, and awkward and twisted positions of arms and hands. Contortion can also sometimes be done in a mimetic mode, as discussed above.
O4 [o kwatro] ‘the four’
This move is similar to the tap dance move called “over the top.” It can be done on either side but is described here on one side for clarity. Starting balancing on the left leg, the dancer brings the right foot high over the left leg, and lands on the right, simultaneously bringing the left leg up behind the right in a bent shape so that the legs form a shape like a number four (4). The move can be repeated on its own a few times, or may be used once as a punctuating move at the end of a repetitive sequence of another move. If done repeating, the left leg is brought down from its bent, lifted position and there is a moment in a two-footed neutral before the move repeats. If repeated, each repetition might face the same direction, or the move may turn the dancer in a circle. In another variation, particularly used for punctuation, the dancer catches the lifted left leg at the ankle with the right hand, and hopping a few times on the right leg.
Seen in: “Kuduro Facil de Aprender”
Song: “Dança dos Lambas” by Os Lambas.
O militari ‘the military’
O militari is done by stepping forward with the right foot, then the left, then back with the right and the left, with the hips moving the whole time. The upper body can then hang over and the arms mimic the movement of the legs by lifting and lowering through the shoulders as steps are being taken and the legs are also lifting and lowering. This move was invented by female Kuduro dancer Titica.
Seen in: “Aulas de Kuduro com Titica”
On the Ground
On the Ground is the name given to this move by Kuduro dancers, but what it entails is just a short amount of Top Rock into a Baby Freeze (see Encyclopedia of B-boying for definitions). The Top Rock is very quick and is more spastic than what is seen in B-boying. Contrary to what the name might suggest, and crucially different from B-boying, there is little to no transitional Floor Rock in On the Ground. Of course the Baby Freeze is a held pose on the ground, so the name might come from that fact.
Seen in: “A revolta do kuduro”
These can be either full or half splits, and dancers might either drop into them suddenly or lower into the position one step at a time. When women perform this move they may whip their heads around while down in the splits.
The Pangón appears to be an impression of some sort of hopping animal, with the body crouched down and elbows held into the body with limp wrists. I could not however, find a translation of what kind of animal it might be. The dancer hops with the knees parallel, but may also step out with one leg and then step back in to a standing position (see Wakimono, below).
Song: “Wakimono” by Nacobeta
Popero ‘poor person’
This move encapsulates a few different motions which alternate the directions they are being performed in, and in what order. The included motions are a rotating of the forearms around each other with open palms forming circles towards the body, a pulsing of the pelvis upwards while gradually turning using small steps, and a touching of the legs by the opposite hand. This last element has a few variations; the leg can bend to various extents and cross behind or in front, to be touched at the ankle, or the dancer can jump and bend the legs back simultaneously and reach behind to touch.
Sai mo ndengue ‘leaving on a [?]’
The defining characteristic of this move appears to be the arms, which are bent at a right angle with both the upper arms and forearms held parallel to the ground. The shoulders are raised and lowered and the hands, held in fists, are moved up and down by the wrists, as if revving a motorcycle. The legs differ in the two examples I found but they are united by a crossing of the right leg over the left; dancer Titica, in “Aulas de Kuduro com a Titica,” shows a five-step box- step of sorts: right over left, left back, right side, left together, right tap out to the right, repeat. “Kuduro Facil de Aprender” shows a travelling slightly jumping step with right crossing over left, then both legs coming apart in a wide bent stance, then re-crossing. The travelling is accomplished on the uncrossing into bent legs; the movement can be done in either direction.
In this non-locomotor movement, the dancer poses with the hands resting on bent knees, and an arched back. He then undulates quickly, tucking the pelvis under and curving up through the spine before snapping back down to the original arched position. This will be done several times in a row, with a pause in between undulations as the dancer settles into the original position. Variations include a side to side undulation while the main undulation takes place, which gives the effect of a shiver, and a stuttering return to the arched position. The dancer may look forward or to either side as if looking at their bottom, similar to the attention-directing head motion discussed in Butt Pops.
Songs: “Sapo” by Puto Prata, “Dança do Sapo” by Salsicha and Vaca Louca
Segmento de Cuerpo ‘segmenting the body’
This is a less precise and more fluid version of Popping with elements of Tutting; it is often seen in the arms and torso to add interest to or complicate other movements taking place in the lower body.
Selle– possibly from Portuguese sela ‘saddle.’*
Selle is always performed with the dancer’s bottom to the audience; to get into this facing, the dancer does a large kick with one leg starting out to the side and crossing over the standing leg to turn around. With knees bent, the dancer carves out space with one buttock at a time, starting the movement in the center of the back and carving in a circle towards the outside of the leg. They then switch sides, creating a figure-eight shape. It can be done either standing bent over or supporting the weight of the body on the hands and feet almost parallel to the ground. When mostly standing, all movement comes from the movement of the pelvis. When on hands and feet, the knees bend and twist to increase mobility in the hips and pelvis. It is predominately a move performed by female dancers, and interestingly the song which mentions it is by a female kudurista, Noite e Dia.
*This is the closest word phonetically that I could find, and seems to fit the movement semantically.
Song: “Selle” by Noite e Dia
See above in the B-boying encyclopedia; the same varieties as are seen in B-boying are seen in Kuduro; in addition there is another type which is a falling straight side, sometimes initiated by a slap of the dancer’s own cheek.
Seen in: “Buraka Som Sistema”
Tá maluca ‘it’s an insane person’
The dancer holds the body and legs rigid, and walks forward slowly while shaking violently. The torso and arms may be held at an odd angle and may move in reaction to the general movement, but the head in particular moves wildly, and drives the rest of the body’s movement. The effect is one of a zombie being electrocuted.
Song: “Tá maluca” by Noite e Dia
Tia Maria ‘aunt Maria’
This move mimics a woman’s stance with fists or hands on hips or at the waist, and exaggeration of the figure. The legs move mostly at shoulder width or less, maintaining the general outline of the body. One leg may come forward or slightly diagonal to the other foot and stay planted there while the hip of that leg makes a vertical circle away from the body and back under the leg. The next level of variation is switching legs; the right foot comes forward with the heel in the ground, the foot, leg, and hip open, then close, then open again. Then, with a slight hop and swish of the hips, the other foot comes forward and does the same. Movement in the torso reacts to the leg movement and keeps its shape while perhaps leaning forward or to either side.
Song: “Tia Maria” by Os Granada Squad.
Ti nogueira ‘walnut tree’
This move is defined by the dancer standing on one leg and moving the leg only through initiation in the hips. This can be done with straight legs or bent; to the back or front. To the back, it is usually done with straight legs, and all of the active movement is in the pelvis. The hip of the raised leg is lifted and lowered repeatedly, and the leg is moved by this. To the front particularly, the move is less stiff; the lifted and standing knees may be bent and the leg itself may move, not just because the hips are moving. The standing leg may bend lower and the torso may lean backward or foreword to accommodate the movement of the leg. The move has the effect of looking like a stop-motion video of a person trying to get flies off of their upper thighs.
Song: I have been unable to locate a song but in the videos where this move appears, there are multiple examples of separate people singing the name of this move with a particular melody, which seems to indicate a song exists.
Makossa is a genre of dance music from Cameroon, originating in the Duala tribe and later influenced by Congolese dance music. Although its origins have been traced back to the 1930s, its modern popularity began in the mid-1980s (West 2008). It was accompanied by a dance form of the same name, which means “to strip off” (Hudgens 2003) but has also been translated as “I dance” in the Duala languange (Yaounde 2002).* From videos, the Cameroonian version seems to be characterized by relatively calm small steps and movement of the pelvis. The Kuduro move involves spread out legs with bent knees and a leaned back torso, so that there is a straight-ish line from head to knee. The knees may increase and decrease the bend and move laterally. The arms move mimetically, often with bathing-type movements, like washing of the torso or wiping sleep from the eyes.
*An interesting connection between Kuduro and B-boying exists through this Cameroonian musical form. The song “Soul Makossa” by Camerooninan saxophonist Manu Dibango debuted in the United States in 1972 and become a sensation in New York City. It was almost certainly one of the songs played at Block parties in the Bronx; Afrika Bambaataa even recorded a version of it.
Song: “Tira makossa”
This is very similar to the Wave in B-boying; it involves passing an invisible wave or current through the body by isolating and highlighting the body part where the ‘energy’ is. Unlike in B- boying where the Wave would usually pass in one direction and maybe return, but have a specific trajectory, the Tsuname may feature a gentle undulation throughout the body with a highlighted repetitious undulation in one body part like the arm.
Song: “Tsuname” by Bruno M.
Wakimono ‘eyes wide open’ (Translation from F.)
The defining movement of this is extending one leg, putting weight on it, and bringing it back to meet the other leg in standing before it is repeated on the other side. There are variations in the direction and accent of the legs and pelvis in this move, for example the legs may step out to the side, as in Salsa, in which case the hips jut out to the side of the extended leg. Even more common is a stepping to the front diagonals, and in this variation the whole pelvis comes forward when the leg is extended, and comes to center or slightly lifted to the back when the weight is in the center on both legs. Wakimono can be a stationary or locomotor movement.
This stationary movement involves contracting the lower back in conjunction with moving the shoulders forward and back, so that the shoulders are back when the pelvis is to the back, and the shoulders come forward when the pelvis is titled forward. The left and right shoulders and hips may move independently from each other so that the curvature is achieved by the opposite shoulder and hip. The development of this move is credited to kudurista Puto Prata.
* All three of thee names were mentioned in the video, and I am not sure which is most common so I have listed them all.
Seen in: “Aulas de Kuduro com a Titica”
This move is similar to Sai mo ndengue, except that the legs and lower body are the focus. The legs move in an exaggerated box-step pattern, and the front leg may be privileged, such that, if the right foot were leading by crossing over the left, the weight may be put on the foot and removed several times. The dancer would then complete the box by stepping left, right, and left again. The hips move from side to side and the knees are lifted high when steps are taken; the standing leg may remain bent and also move laterally so that at times the dancer is in a bow- legged position.