January 7 2013
While Kuduro dancers have started performing in the USA and Ghanaian Azonto is still busy spreading on a global scale, there is another dance culture from the African continent which has proven something Kuduro and Azonto still need to show: Consistency. Born in the streets of Soweto, iSbhujwa has incorporated elements from the Pantsula dance but it developed a higher variety as the precedent dance style.
Today, it’s not simply a dance, it is regarded as a culture for those who live it. The word ‘iSbhujwa’ derives from kasi (an argot that is spoken in South African townships) and means ‘bourgeois’. Andy Davis (editor of Mahala Mag) finds these words to describe ‘iSbhujwa’: “There’s precision and rigour in the moves but also a sensuality, an elasticity in the hips, a suppleness at the knees. iSbhujwa brings it all; precise technical moves taken from b-boy floor work, pantsula foot work and stuff like the robot, but then there’s a flow that unites and links all the pieces together, delivering a style that’s both unique and sexy as hell.”
In contrast to other contemporary dance cultures, iSbhujwa started existing before the Internet was accessible for millions of Africans. New technologies bring new opportunities and the new social media is specialized in building cultural bridges. It could thus export the iSbhujwa to new places. The Soweto based group Soweto’s Finest seem to have realized this chance and have produced an excellent music video for their track ‘Sushi Dance’. This video may open the door for many of us into the iSbhujwa-world.
Soweto’s Finest – Sushi dance
Film by: The Pilot Films
Featuring: Soweto’s Finest