How to Limbo Dance

Limbo Dance. How to Limbo Dance – Just How Do You Limbo Dance?

By Steelasophical

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The History

The Limbo (Lim-Bow) is a unique Afro-Caribbean dance, one thats a hot favourite at Caribbean and Tropical themed parties.

Also known as “Under de Stick Dance” this has become a most popular form of audience participation at Tropical party events the world over. The limbos dates back to the mid to late 1800s in Trinidad. It achieved mainstream popularity during the 1950s

It has its origins from the islands of Trinidad & Tobago, where British and American forces took the form back to their home countries as a party dance piece.

Caribbean Dj Limbo Dance Steel band limbo by design Groom

Limbo is a movement that is traditionally done at funerals or wakes and derives from the African legba or legua dance. If the Limboist makes it under the bar (usually a bar of fire) with ease, it means that the spirit has transitioned to the other side with ease.

Today limbo refers to a dancer moving to a very up beat rhythm and dances under a horizontal bar or held by two people or (as we like to supported on stands. The dancer negotiates under the bar without touching or knocking it off the stand. If the dancer is successful, they must repeat this again and again with the bar being lowered another notch each time.

Each dancer does this until there is only one left standing who has not touched the bar, fallen down, laid on the floor or used his/her hands to keep balance. On-lookers as well as other dancers would clap, cheer, egg on and sing while the dancer tries to go under the bar

How to Limbo Dance

How to Limbo Dance

How to Limbo Dance

Limbo dancing is relatively simple, and involves a dancer attempting to bend low enough to stay below a bar held by two people or supported on two poles. The technique for a successful limbo dance is easy, but requires practice and concentration throughout the duration of the dance.

  1. Begin the limbo with your feet spread and lined up with your shoulders. During the limbo dance, you need to have a strong base in your lower body so that your upper body can bend properly.
  2. Keep your arms spread out from your body as you begin your approach to the limbo stick. This technique allows you to maintain balance as your back bends, and helps you avoid instinctively grabbing the stick if you feel off balance.
  3. Approach the stick slowly with deliberate, exaggerated steps. A common mistake for limbo dancers is to bend backwards too quickly and throw themselves off balance. Focus on each step, bending your legs and your back gradually as you see the stick ahead of you.
  4. Flatten your stomach as much as possible when your legs begin to cross under the limbo stick. Your abdominal area may become the biggest obstacle to a successful limbo dance because your bent back accentuates your stomach as you complete the dance.
  5. Maintain limbo posture until your head has passed completely under the stick. As soon as you see the limbo stick pass your eyes, count to three and begin to gradually lift your body to an upright position.
  1. Wear comfortable clothing when you know you will performing a limbo dance. You need to focus on proper limbo technique, rather than your discomfort from clothes that are constricting. Look for shirts, trousers and other clothing items that are loose enough for you to dance, but maintain the festive nature of the limbo.
  2. Find traditional limbo music when performing the limbo dance. The limbo’s origins in Latin America mean that music with a strong beat and a good use of percussion instruments will get your party started.
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Tips & Warnings

• Consult your family doctor before you perform a limbo dance. Excessive limbo dancing without proper stretching or health precautions can lead to injured back and leg muscles. Ask your doctor what you can do to properly warm up your body to avoid injuries related to limbo dancing.

Steelasophical uses a professional Limbo Set created by  Entertainment by Design

Limbo Set Limbo Pole Limbo Bar Limbo Beam Limbo Party Limbo Game Limbo Dance Limbo Kit Limbo Kit with Base Limbo Kit Game Play Limbo

How to Limbo Dance
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Contrary to popular belief, the limbo did not originate in Hawaii.

  • Popularity in Music
    • In the 1950s, Jamaicans helped to popularise the limbo. Songs such as “Limbo” by Lord Tickler and the Calypsonians, and “Limbo” by Denzil Laing and the Wrigglers were ready-made for limbo dancing. In 1962, Chubby Checker released the song “Limbo Rock.”
  • The Limbo Today
    • Today the limbo remains a popular dance, particularly at Caribbean resorts and hotels, as well as on cruise ships, where a prize is commonly awarded to the last dancer to successfully cross under the stick.
  • Fun Fact
    • According to the Universal Record Database, Sabrina Ansari set the world record for limbo dancing when she limbo-ed under a 34-inch pole in 2005.
How to Limbo Dance

Caribbean Dj Limbo Dance Steel band limbo by design16


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Lowest limbo by a woman – world record set by Shemika Charles

BUFFALO, NY, USA — Shemika Charles, the 18-year-old Trinidadian national living in Buffalo, New York, danced under a bar 8.5 inches (21.5 cm) from the ground on the set of American morning show Live! with Regis and Kelly – setting the new world record for the Lowest Limbo by a woman.

Charles set the record after performing the limbo under a stick placed only 8.5 inches from the ground.

Shemika said it took a lot of training to get to this point. She practiced four times a day during the summer.

“It’s very different and people are more willing to accept something they haven’t seen before. I would like to limbo as long as I can but you can only limbo for so long. I can’t limbo when I’m 50 or 60 but I’d like to limbo for as long as I can,” Charles said.

She also limbo dances around Western New York with her family’s band called Caribbean Extravaganza. Charles accomplished the feat to steelpan music performed by her mother Sherry Charles.

Her trainer Bob Diaz said it is quite an honor to be on their show and considered for the Guinness World Record.

According to international reports, Charles, after accomplishing the feat, said she had been waiting for the opportunity to have her name written in the Guinness Book of World Records for the lowest limbo for quite some time. She said the waiting period had been tough but since establishing the record it was all worth it.

Charles left Trinidad at the age of eight for the United States with her family, and had been doing the limbo dance for the past four years. She is a pupil of the Cardina Ohara High School in Buffalo, and is also a singer and dancer in a group called Caribbean Extravaganza.  

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Learn More Here (Limbo-Queen-Shemika-Charles)



Gary Trotman

Creative Director 

Steelasophical Steel Band Dj