CONGOLESE DANCE IS ROOTED EVERYWHERE
Traditional Congolese dances are rooted in ritual. Ritual dances are spiritually-connected, therefore acknowledging the spirit world and its presence in everyday life. These dances symbolize and, often, celebrate life's many occurrences - child birth, rites of passage, a successful harvest or preparation for war, to name a few. Ritual dances are considered sacred, done only by certain families or villages.
Another aspect of Congolese dance is social dance. This form is very different from ritual dance, in that social dance is non-exclusive and improvised, yet it does draw alot of its movements from ritual dance. Social Congoles dances are shaped by, not only the Congolese, but also by the influence of other ethnic groups, as they come to meet at parties, nightclubs and festivals within the Congo. It is this form that is taught around the world in various classes and dance workshops.
And, finally, there are the contemporary dances of the Congo. These dances share the same qualities as social dances (improvisation, non-exclusive setting, etc.), but differ slightly. The Congolese social dances are formed and contained primarily within the Congo, whereas the contemporary forms can be seen anywhere in the world and are not as closely related to its spiritually-driven predecessors. Examples of Congolese contemporary, social dances include soukous and ndombolo.
Whatever the label (ritual, social or contemporary), the Congolese influence on various dance forms is apparent. Whether its done in the Congo Square of New Orleans or on the beaches of Bahia, Brazil, the power and beauty of Congolese dance can be seen everywhere, giving birth to and affecting a variety of dance styles. Here are a few of its "offspring":
*Hip Hop dance *Modern dance *Rhumba
*Samba *Calypso *Cha-cha-cha
*Bomba (Puerto Rico) *Soca
*Merengue *Boogaloo *Funky Chicken