South Africa


Xibelani is a South African dance style also commonly referred to as “Shibelani”. This dance belonging to a community called Tsonga is said to have originated from the Limpopo province in South Africa. It is a form of dance mainly performed by women. In addition, the name of this indigenous dance is said to have been derived from a local language belonging to the Tsonga community called “Xitsonga”.  Furthermore, according to a tradition all women belonging to the Tsonga community are supposed to learn this dance.

a. History/origin of the Xibelani Dance:

This dance was essentially created in South Africa within the Tsonga community to celebrate festive occasions such as mkhinyavezo and ku chachula. In addition, it has also been created to compliment other traditional dances performed by this community such as makhwaya and mchongolo.

 b. Costumes used in the Xibelani Dance:

The costume mainly used includes an African skirt called “tinguvu/xibelani”. This skirt is usually tied by the performer around the waist. Furthermore, this skirt is basically worn by the performer to help highlight the pronounced hip movements that this dance involves.

c. Music involved in the Xibelani Dance:

The musical instruments mainly used in this dance by the “Tsonga” community are drums.

d. Training availability and technique involved in the Xibelani Dance:

In terms of technique, this dance involves performers (mainly female) rhythmically swaying their hips to the beat of the music. As for training centres/schools, there are none available around the world since this indigenous dance is mainly performed by a community called “Tsonga” in South Africa.

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