List Of Traditional Dances In Tanzania

List Of Traditional Dances In Tanzania

Tanzania traditional dances


Ngoma, which literally translates to ‘drum’, is a term used to describe the rich and varied forms of traditional dance, drumming, and singing found throughout Tanzania. With hundreds of different styles and variations, Ngoma is a vibrant expression of local culture, history, and community.

Originating from Zanzibar and Pemba, these traditional dances feature a combination of intricate dance steps, drumming, and percussion instruments, such as oil tins beaten with a stick.

The costumes worn by the dancers are often elaborate and colorful, emphasizing the unity of the group’s movements and the rhythm section. Each Ngoma style has its unique costume, adding to the richness and diversity of the performances.

In Kyaso, men dance dressed in shirts and “kikois”, a special woven cloth from the East African coast, with a long, narrow stick in their hand. Their movements are beautifully coordinated, creating a harmonious and energetic dance. In Bomu, the women dress up like men and wear funny costumes while dancing around in a circle. The lighthearted and playful nature of the dance is contagious, making it a joy to watch.


The Chakacha dance is an integral part of Tanzania traditional dances, as well as Swahili’s cultural heritage, often performed during weddings, festivals, and other special occasions. The dance is typically performed mainly by women, who wear light and flowing clothing that allows easy movement. The most distinctive feature of the costume is the waist belt, which is made of colorful beads and helps to accentuate the dancers’ hip movements. A variety of instruments, including the bass guitar, drums, guitar, and percussion tools like tambourines and shakers, are used to create the music for Chakacha. The rhythm is typically fast and energetic, focusing on the beat and the interplay between the different instruments.

The Chakacha dance is an integral part of Swahili's cultural heritage

The Chakacha dance is an integral part of Swahili’s cultural heritage


Muganda is a traditional dance that is popular among the Chagga people who live on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. The dance is usually performed during festivals by both men and women and involves a lot of jumping and acrobatic movements. Dancers often wear colorful clothing while performing Muganda to the beat of drums and other percussion instruments. 


Kidumbak, a form of traditional music that originated in Zanzibar, an archipelago off the coast of Tanzania, is well-known for its dynamic characteristic. It is believed to have been influenced by taarab, a popular music genre in Tanzania.

One of the unique features of Kidumbak is the instruments used in its performance. Due to the difficulty in obtaining instruments outside of urban areas, local musicians invented their own instruments, using materials such as wooden boxes, sticks, and shakers. The resulting sound is similar to that of taarab, but with a distinct character that is specific to Kidumbak. The instruments commonly used in Kidumbak include the violin, dumbak drums, sanduku (a one-string bass made from a wooden box and a stick), a pair of shakers, a pair of small sticks, and a stool. The rhythm is typically slow and steady, focusing on the interplay between the different instruments. Kidumbak is often performed at weddings and other celebrations with slow, sensual dance movements.

Kidumbak is a traditional dance often performed at weddings in Tanzania

Kidumbak is a traditional dance often performed at weddings in Tanzania


Gogo people who live in the central regions of Tanzania create and perform their traditional dance called “Mdundiko”. The dance is usually performed by women during festivals and involves a lot of hip movement. The dancers wear colorful clothing and perform to the beat of drums and other percussion instruments. 

The traditional dances that are performed across Tanzania are an important part of the country’s heritage and are a sight to behold. These dances are not only entertaining but also serve as a way for the people of Tanzania to express their cultural identity and celebrate their traditions. If you ever get a chance to visit Tanzania, be sure to experience these traditional dances by joining with local people and uncovering the diversity of Tanzanian culture firsthand.

What are the traditional dances in Tanzania?

The major traditional dances of the Nyakyusa people are Ing’oma, Magosi, Samba, Mwambulo, and Ipenenga. The categories are based on the age group of people who participate in dancing.

Why is traditional dance important in Tanzania?

Traditionally dance and music have held an important role in Tanzanian culture, and were used to teach lessons, spread messages, and share news.

What is the traditional dance of Makonde in Tanzania?

Lingwalangwanja is a dance tradition performed by young male members of the Makonde society in the northern part of Mozambique, and in south eastern Tanzania. It is usually performed in the evening for the purpose of entertainment.