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Mapouka (also macouka) is a traditional dance from the Dabou area of southeast Côte d’Ivoire that originated with the Aizi, Alladian and Avikam people. It is also known as “la danse du fessier” or “the dance of the behind”.

The dance is mostly performed by women, shaking their rear end side to side, facing away from their audience, often while bent over.

In the 1980s, artists of the Ivory Coast tried without much success to popularize it. One of the most well known groups is Tueuses de Mapouka. In 1998, the government of Côte d’Ivoire prohibited its performance in public. Following the prohibition, the dance enjoyed very fast-growing global following, especially in the sub-Saharan countries and western nations with large Francophone communities.

The dance is similar to what is referred to in belly dance as “shimmies”. The fundamental difference is that in belly dance it is performed while upright and facing the audience, whereas Mapouka is performed more often while bent over and facing away from the audience. The hip movements are however the same.


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