Did You Know There Are Many Traditional Dances from Burundi?

Share this post:

In Burundi, traditional dance is always accompanied by singing (uruvyino) which plays a big role in public or social festivals. Most often, it is women who sing the songs supported by hand clapping. Men also do it in groups while dancing. Apart from some dances being specific to women, others to men while others are specific to both, each natural region has its own traditional dance. We also note that only one province or commune can have its own traditional dance. However, some traditional dances are disappearing or no longer exist.

The President of Burundi Evariste Ndayishimiye drumming

What are the traditional dances of Burundi?

There is :
• The batimbo dance called “umurisho w’ingoma”: it is a dance performed only by men. They are “batimbo” drummers singing and dancing with acrobatic jumps, arousing admiration, while beating the drum. This dance is found everywhere in Burundi in general and particularly in Gishora (The Gishora Drum Sanctuary) in the province of Gitega nicknamed “province of the drum”.

Drummers from Gishora

• Agasimbo: it is an acrobatic dance performed by men called “top dancers” wearing bells (amayugi) on their ankles and on their heads parts of a gourd to which rooster feathers commonly called “imibíko” are attached. It is found in the province of Makamba precisely in the communes of Makamba and Kayogoro.

Agasimbo dancers from Makamba, Kayogoro

• Ubudemera: like agasimbo, it is a dance performed only by men dressed in the style of “top dancers”. It is danced by beating two or three tambourines with the hands. The songs are accompanied by the inzamba (flute). It is found in the province of Ruyigi precisely in the commune of Gisuru.

• Amayaya: it is a relaxed and easy dance performed by men or women. It is of great interest to people who are drunk. As an illustration, we mention the song “Eehe ni amayaya” which won the admiration of everyone.

• Ihunja: it is a dance performed exclusively by women. While dancing, they try to imitate the bird called crowned crane.
• Imisambi: similar to ihunja, it is danced by women and girls only.

Women dancers

• Umuyebe: it is a dance for men exclusively. They strike the ground with their feet to show their physical power and make the sound of bells attached to their ankles.

• Akanyarusizi: it is a dance practiced by young people from the regions bordering the #Rusizi

• Umutsibo: it is a dance that predominates the Buyogoma region. It is danced exclusively by women who emphasize the movement of the legs and pelvis but without anything erotic.

• Ubusambiri: it is a dance found in the south of the country in the #Buragane region only. It is more practiced by young girls.

• Ukwiyereka or “ Intore ” dance: it is a dance of the traditional warriors of the Mwami (King) of Burundi. It is found in the Bugesera region precisely in the commune of Busoni where it has remained ingrained until today.

Intore dancers from Kirundo

• Uruharambo: it is a dance of men found in Kirimiro. It is disappearing.

• Ihuruma: it is a dance performed by men. It is located in the Kumoso region and has disappeared today. It stood out in Kumoso

• Igisuru: it is a women’s dance. It was danced to celebrate the birth of the twins

• Imisambi: it is a dance of women who imitate flying crowned cranes

• Urwedengwe: it is a feminine dance which emphasizes the movement of the shoulders. It is found in the regions of Ngozi and Buyenzi. It is also practiced in the east of Burundi in the Kumoso region.

Nowadays, it is noticeable that there are other less known dances which were born from the mixture of traditional dances and foreign dances namely igisirimba, ugusebeya, amarwandama, etc. They vary from one region to another.

What if these Burundian cultural riches did not disappear?

The different Burundian dances still exist thanks to the different cultural clubs found throughout the territory of Burundi. However, some have been very modified due to the influence of foreign dances, often called modern. Others are disappearing or have already disappeared. It would be better to preserve those still existing from profound modification and disappearance.

Source :
Recueil de 2009 de l’UNESCO sur la culture burundaise intitulé « IMICO N’IMIGENZO NDANGABURUNDI N’ABAYITIRIRWA : ICEGERANYO C’IVYATOHOJWE » (within the Central Library in Mutanga Campus of the University of Burundi)

Share this post:

No Comments on Did You Know There Are Many Traditional Dances from Burundi?

Leave A Comment

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x