The limbo dance game

Number of players
Recommended age
Competition type
all vs. all
Playing time
-20 min
Cost or investment

Brief description of the game

The limbo dance is a game, a challenge and a dance, all at once. The goal is to pass under a horizontal bar which will be lowered in height becoming more and more difficult. Fun and laughs are guaranteed.
dancing limbo
Table of contents
Friends doing limbo dance

How to play the Limbo dance

Things you need to know before starting to play

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Number of players

There are no limits for this game! The more participants, the better, because the game will be more competitive and fun.

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What do you need to play

A bar, a stick or a rope with a minimum length of 1.5 m is required. The bar should be kept horizontal and should change in height.

It can be held by two people

Doing limbo at party

or you can use an ingenious system like the one created by these girls with a few reeds and a couple of ropes.

Doing limbo dance on beach

Goal of the game

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What is LIMBO about?

The game is to pass under the bar to the sound of music, a goal that becomes increasingly difficult as the bar decreases in height.

Limbo Rules: playing a game

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Let the music play!

There is no Limbo without music. Below you will find a playlist with songs to dance Limbo with 6 typical and classic songs plus 6 more modern songs with rhythms also suitable for Limbo dancing.

icon limbo bar

First round

For the first round, the bar is placed at a comfortable height of approximately 1.5 meters.

ico order

Get ready!

Participants line up behind the bar.

icon, limbo dance

Pass under the limbo bar

One by one they pass under the bar to the sound of music. If they succeed turn around and get back in line. If they fail, they will be eliminated.

icon limbo dance bar

Next rounds

Once all participants have gone under the bar —with more or less success— a new round is started by lowering the height of the bar to make it more difficult. How much? There are no rules for that. Use common sense.

In the early rounds the bar can be lowered one hand at a time, but when the bar is already very low, and few players are able to pass it, it is better to lower it less. As a rule, the smoother the descents, the longer the game will last.

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Rules of the limbo dance

Not everything is allowed to pass under the bar. These are the basic rules of the Limbo dance game:

  1. Pass under the bar with your feet in front of you and your body leaning backwards.
  2. No other part of the body but the feet may touch the ground.
  3. The bar cannot be touched.
  4. The challenge is considered successful when the entire body passes under the bar.

A player who breaks any of these rules will be eliminated from the game.

End of the game. Who wins?

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Game over

The game ends when none of the participants is able to pass under a certain height.

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And the winner is…

The winner(s) will be the participant(s) who have successfully passed the previous height.

Best songs for dancing LIMBO

Icono música

The Limbo dance was born in Trinidad Island and therefore it is usually danced to the sound of songs with Caribbean air and rhythms of calypso, soca, reggae and the unmistakable rhythms of the Trinidad and Tobago metal drums.

The LOODENS team has researched, searched and selected the best songs for dancing Limbo.

They are all available in our playlist on Spotify Best songs for LIMBO dance.

6 typical songs for dancing Limbo

These are the ones that most people use to dance Limbo, with Caribbean and vintage airs:

  1. Day-O Banana Boat Song
  2. Limbo rock
  3. Jump in the line
  4. Soca Limbo Rock
  5. Hot hot hot
  6. Iko Iko

6 modern songs for dancing Limbo

With better quality sound, well-known and with perfect rhythms for dancing Limbo:

  1. A lalala long
  2. Havana
  3. Red red wine
  4. OMI – Cheerleader (Felix Jaehn Remix)
  5. Calma
  6. You sexy thing

They are all available in our playlist on Spotify Best songs for LIMBO dance.

Limbo dance history

The Limbo dance has its origin in Trinidad Island, currently part of Trinidad and Tobago. It was the slaves stolen from their native Africa and brought to this island who invented the game of limbo dancing.

What is not so clear is the reason why they did it and the meaning it had for them, because after consulting many sources we have found several and very different hypotheses.

For some authors its origin is found in some kind of traditional dance used in wakes, that is, part of a funeral ritual imported from African ancestral traditions.

For other sources the limbo dance had a symbolic meaning related to the boat trip that took them from Africa to the Caribbean and had to do with the waves and the increasing difficulty of reaching their destination alive.

The LOODENS team likes better a third hypothesis that points to the joyful and festive meaning of limbo dancing today. It seems that once the slaves arrived at their destination, they were segregated by sex and in order for men and women to meet each other they had to sneak out of their confinement through all kinds of cracks and narrow gaps under the fences. The limbo dance, through which they demonstrated their ability to pass under a low height space, was then a form of mockery towards their captors as well as a way to have fun.

Honestly, it is impossible to know what is true and what is just a legend, but whatever really happened, what we are sure of in LOODENS is that we must use these lines to pay tribute to these people and recognize their merit because despite the injustice they suffered, they knew with their imagination and talent to create a form of fun with something as simple as a long stick and the percussion sounds they created with all kinds of objects they had at their disposal.

Tips and tricks for passing under the limbo bar

In this video you will see what techniques or tricks can be used to pass under the limbo bar when it is very low. They are dancers who were participating in a Swing Festival and at some point make a stop in the competition to have a few laughs playing limbo. The agility and flexibility they show, which allows them to pass without touching the bar, is not within the reach of most mortals, but you can imitate their tricks.

World record for Limbo

Yes, there is a Limbo world record and it is held by Dennis Walston who in March 1991 was able to pass under a limbo bar with only 15.25 cm (6 inches) of height. We didn’t believe it so we investigated thoroughly and…. here is the link to the recognition of his record on the official RecordGuiness website and also the video showing Dennis in action. It looks like it’s crawling on the ground, but it doesn’t really touch it. It’s amazing. Surreal.

The women’s record stands at 8.5 inches (21.59 cm) from September 2020 and is held by Shemika Charles, who also holds the record for the longest distance covered passing under limbo bars placed 12 inches (30.8 cm) high: she covered no less than 12.67 feet (3.8 meters). Unbelievable.

Yes, we have also checked her records, we can vouch for that, and you can see her in action in this video:

Don’t try to do the same or you’ll tear ligaments in your knees!

Remember that competition is the least of it. The important thing is to have a good time with friends or family. Let the music play!

logo loodens

LOODENS rating

Chubby Checker’s Limbo Rock plays and a horizontal bar appears… Who can resist trying to go under it? Limbo always triumphs in all the parties with music playing. Although it may only take 10 or 15 minutes, we assure you that everyone will remember that moment as one of the most fun moments of the party. 100% recommended

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