The emergence of these two viral dances and the trend each set is a remarkable feat for the African music industry. However this article tagged – Azonto vs Alkayida attempts to pitch both dances together and see which one had the heads up.
Dance styles emerging and spreading like wildfire across the globe is a common phenomenon worldwide just like the art of dancing has been with humans since creation. Hot on the heels of azonto the body poetry dance phenomenon from Ghana that had the whole world moving in the complex and coordinated steps as if choreographed by an unseen hand came the supposed heir; the alkayida dance. The alkayida dance surfaced in Ghana just like the azonto and shares a bit of similarities with it. Alkayida is based on sideways moves that incorporates upper body gestures and encourages group routines while using more hip hop dance moves than azonto according to proponents. The Alkayida is slightly more laid back than azonto but an exact set of body movement is hard to pin down and the supposedly relaxed style encourages many variations. Many songs have been made to this dance in the bid to fuel the fire like the viral azonto but the controversial dance is yet to follow in the footsteps of the forerunner.
One of the major knocks of the new dance is the identity or lack of identity, it has been spelt Alkayida, Alqaeda or Alkayeda but whichever way it is pronounced, it evokes memories of the name of an infamous terrorist organization, although alkayida fans are quick to point out that the word ‘alkayida’ has a similar sound to a Ghanaian inflection of muttering ‘I’m tired’. Humorous YouTube videos of the dance feature people dressed in Islamic robes like hijab, keffiyeh an inevitable result of the similarity of the dance name to the Islamic terrorist group Al Queda even if the dance is not in any other way linked to the group. Unlike Azonto, which is well defined in terms of the routines and choreography as well as a distinctive historical association, the invention of the alkayida is lacking in these areas. Similarities in name to such a sensitive world subject and inconsistencies in movement routines put a huge snag on the prospects of the alkayida dance despite the creativity.
Invented to be the new dance style from Ghana primed to take over from the azonto, the name of the dance would make it unappealing to the international world hence the dance would struggle to replicate the success of Azonto and the platform it gave to Ghanaian and African music internationally. The international media would most certainly not give platform to a dance with almost the same name and pronunciation as such a sensitive terror group. The rise of azonto was invigorating from an urban Ghanaian phenomenon to a universal craze but alkayida seems more like a mock of the western fear of Islamic fundamentalism which hugely polarises any support the dance style aims to get. The dance may have developed basically out of invention and novelty but being wrapped in a topical, quirky and sensitive name borne out of cultural fear or satire is not working for the dance. The ‘bird flu’ dance became popular in Ivory Coast in the wake of the biological virus invading the country but the world today is not ready to duplicate it with alkayida because of the touchy nature. Necessity is said to be the mother of invention but the identity issues surrounding the alkayida effectively cripples it.