Azonto (when literally translated means wayward girls) is a dance form belonging to West Africa. Considered to be “communicative” this dance style is said to have originated from Ghana. It is said to have been created from a traditional “Ghanian” dance style known as “Kpanlogo”.  In addition, the basic moves of this dance revolves around imitating daily chores such as ironing, driving, washing, swimming, boxing etc. Furthermore, similar to most other African dances the Azonto also involves a few complex and acrobatic body movements.

What is the meaning of Azonto?

Azonto is a popular dance and music genre that originated in Ghana. The term “Azonto” is derived from the Akan word “aso” which means to wash, and “to” which means to strike. In the context of the dance, it refers to the use of gestures that simulate the washing of clothes, while the striking movements imitate the pounding of fufu (a traditional Ghanaian dish) or the hitting of a pestle and mortar. The dance is characterized by its fluid and rhythmic movements, which are often accompanied by fast-paced beats and lyrics in Ghanaian languages such as Twi, Ga, and Ewe. The Azonto dance has become a popular cultural export from Ghana and has gained widespread recognition and popularity around the world.

a. History/origin of Azonto dance:

Apparently this dance style was developed in Ghana via imitation of moves involved in daily chores such as ironing clothes, washing, boxing, swimming etc. Furthermore, over the years due to large presence of Ghanian diaspora all over the world as well as the due to the emergence of social media sites such as Youtube, this style has now become popular internationally as well.

b. Costumes used in the Azonto dance:

Azonto is a dance genre that originated in Ghana, which can be performed wearing any type of clothing, from formal to casual attire. Performers usually wear comfortable clothes such as T-shirts and trousers, allowing freedom of movement. Some dancers may choose to incorporate traditional Ghanaian clothing, like Kente cloth, to add cultural significance to the performance. The flexibility in clothing choice allows performers to express their personal style while still being able to fully immerse themselves in the rhythmic movements and energy of the dance.

c. Music involved in the Azonto dance:

The Azonto dance is often performed to the upbeat and rhythmic genre of music known as “Afrobeat”. This music is characterized by its fusion of West African rhythms with influences from jazz, funk, and soul music. A variety of musical instruments are used in Afrobeat, including the bass guitar, conga, drums, keyboards, percussion, saxophone, and shekere.

The use of percussion instruments is particularly important in Afrobeat music as they provide the driving rhythm that underpins the dance. The drums and congas, in particular, provide the pulsating beat that allows the dancers to move in sync with the music. The bass guitar and keyboards add depth and complexity to the sound, while the saxophone and shekere provide melody and texture.

Overall, the music involved in the Azonto dance is lively, upbeat, and highly rhythmic, with a focus on percussion instruments that provide the foundation for the dancers to showcase their moves.

d. Training availability and technique involved in the Azonto dance:

The Azonto dance is a popular dance style that originated in Ghana and is performed to the upbeat and rhythmic genre of music known as “Afrobeat”. The dance involves imitating daily activities such as ironing, washing, boxing, and swimming using hand movements, knee bending, and hip movements. There is no set costume for the Azonto dance, as performers can wear any type of clothing that allows freedom of movement.

The Azonto dance has gained popularity around the world and training centers and schools are available in many countries to teach the technique. This expressive dance style allows performers to connect with others through movement and rhythm, and it continues to be a beloved and celebrated dance style around the world. With its unique blend of African rhythms and modern dance elements, the Azonto dance is sure to keep inspiring people to move and express themselves through dance.


Azonto Dance Tutorial by Obaa Hemaaa
Dance Tutorial by ‘Got to Dance Germany

e. Some Azonto Dance Videos:

Azonto Dance video by Clifford Owusu
Azonto Dance video by Kwame Joe

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