The Ethiopian “eskista” is the nation’s most beloved, most iconic dance. “Eskista” means “dancing shoulders” in Amharic, and dance our shoulders shall!

Eskista dancers generally form rows or line up in groups and actively engage everyone in the room with their shoulder shakes and shimmies. The dance is public form of enjoyment and not just for private couples.

Still, the eskista is far more than just a party dance. Traditionally different kinds of eskistas tell different stories or teach myriad life lessons. Some eskista moves simulate body movements Ethiopians make in the course of a day, others the motion of animals, more even the slithering bobs of a snake.

In class we dance the Eskista to our favorite Ethiopian song, “Nanu Nanu Ney.”

Learn about the eskista.

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