One of the most dominant dance street culture movements in Mzansi right now has to be the fastest-growing sub-genre of house music called amapiano.
Amapiano has swept through the country like a heatwave and has brought with it a dance style many can’t get enough of – the pouncing cat.
It’s everywhere. It’s the official dance at wedding receptions, musicians are all pouncing around and YouTube is packed with tutorials on how to do it.
I like the way South African dance music has always carried with it the ability to make people actually dance.
People always go all out to create unique dance moves that will blend in well with the genre.
Every few years, a song comes out that has its dance moves. From ivosho (a dance that involves squatting and kicking at the same time) to idibala (a fainting dance), igwara gwara (a dance that involves a bent knee and arm movement like you are stirring a pot) and we are now pouncing like cats.
We spoke to choreographers about their thoughts on this new dance.
Didi Moses, celebrity choreographer and judge on South Africa’s version of "So You Think You Can Dance", said she first saw the dance on social media. She researches dance styles online daily, as she likes keeping up with current dance trends.
“As I was a cat in my previous life and a huge fan of dance, I was pleasantly surprised to see it happening on social media.
“I think it’s been created beautifully, and I love the local flavour it has. It’s very catchy and it will be around for a long time. It’s a pretty simple dance. People should be allowed to add their flavour. There’s no right or wrong way to do it,” said Moses.
Choreographer and DJ Courtnae’ Paul said she started to pick up on the trend when amapiano took over our sound waves.
“Everyone from DJs to the artists, dancers and young children on the streets were and are doing it. It’s a vibe. South Africans are the general when it comes to dance grooves, so it’s great to see another trend thriving from here,” she said.
“‘Grooves’ are chilled repetitive dance moves that often happen unconsciously and with little effort. They look and feel good, and that’s exactly what this dance move is,” said Paul.
Asked if she saw it lasting for a long time, she said it just might.
“Like most trending dance moves, it will fade as the next trend comes in, but I think it will forever be part of our country’s dance vocab.
“It’s a relatively easy dance move in the greater scheme of dance. It does, however, get a little tricky if you can’t co-ordinate your feet, shoulders, and wrists together, or separately,” said Paul.
Award-winning director, dancer and YouTuber Thubalethu Ndibali said he started noticing the pouncing cat dance when the amapiano sound was starting to create waves.
“It was around September when I got a lot of requests from my subscribers to do a pouncing cat tutorial. I then did my research through Google, watching videos and asking around until I found out more about the dance ,then I did a tutorial.
“It’s a fresh and fun dance for December and doesn’t require too much technique and it feels good on the body.
“It’s for everyone, beginners and professionals. As long as you break it down to footwork and arm movement co-ordination, you’re good to go.
“It’s all about feeling when it comes to dancing, you just have to keep going until you find your groove. All pouncing cats don’t have to look the same. Take the basics and bring in your flavour,” said Ndibali.
He said he felt the dance would last for quite a long time like the igwara gwara.
“The dance moves that tend to last longer are often groovy and easy to do. I feel the pouncing cat is here to stay – even if it becomes less popular, it’ll come back in another cycle,’ said Ndibali.
So if you want to be the life and soul of whatever party or event you end up at this festive season, get practising.