Studies show that dancing improves happiness and reduces anxiety and stress. Dance is a universal language. We can all enjoy the moves and music. Dances from around the world are defined by the local culture, or is it the other way around?
Moving your body to the music is a wonderful way of getting to know a culture. We have made a list of the most amazing, characteristic, vibrant, beautiful and passionate dances in the world from some of the most notable dance places.
“Sin calles ni atardeceres de Buenos Aires no puede escribirse un Tango”
"Tango cannot be written without Buenos Aires streets or sunsets.” - Jorge Luis Borges
Tango was born in the late eighteen century along the River Plate, the natural border between Argentina and Uruguay. Initially, tango was a dance of the poor. That changed with French influence and now it’s part of the Argentinean culture. Tango is a vibrant dance that consists essentially of a sophisticated form of walking with a partner.
You can enjoy tango in different ways in Buenos Aires
. There are shows, tanguerías, couples dancing in the streets of San Telmo or El Caminito or the popular milongas, which are parties held to perform this passionate dance with live music. There are several milongas in Palermo, but you can get started at La Glorieta, an open space in the beautiful park of Barrancas de Belgrano during weekends or Salon Canning (1331 Scalabrini Ortizcan) on Tuesdays.If you are visiting Buenos Aires in early August you have the chance to enjoy the Tango BA Festival y Mundial, which is the biggest tango event in the world.
Brazil and Samba
Samba is the most popular dance in Brazil. Carnivals parade this lively and intense dance through the streets. Samba has African influences and has been danced in Brazil since its origins in the late 16th century. For centuries the black slaves dancing parties were called samba in the Bahia state of Brazil
Samba is a solo dance, and consists of following the beat of the music, usually a fast one. In Rio de Janeiro there are several places where you can enjoy this vibrant spectacle, you can have a perfect night in the city if you head to the trendy neighborhood of Lapa, start the evening with a Brazilian dinner and visit some of the samba clubs in the area. You can try Carioca da Gema (Av Mem de Sá 79 - Lapa) to enjoy the live music while sipping a caipirinha.
Spain and Sevillanas
Spanish culture is very much identified with sevillanas and flamenco. You can find Flamenco shows in Barcelona or Madrid, but their origins are rooted in Southern Spain.
The sevillana is a colorful and exciting dance performed by a couple or a group. It consists in a pattern of movements that most of the people learn at a young age. A dancing pair never touches each other until the end of the song, when one of the dancers places a hand on the other’s waist. It is a dance that Andalucians perform at parties and, above all, during local fairs.
At certain times of the year, when casetas take place, people don traditional dresses, take to the streets and transform their neighbourhoods into a lively fiesta. April and May are the best months to enjoy one of these events like the Feria. The most popular are La Feria de Abril in Seville or Cruces de Mayo in Cordoba. Although La Feria de Sevilla
is the most popular, most of the casetas are private so you need to know someone who can get you in. Despite the exclusivity, the atmosphere of the city and ongoing events are reason enough for a visit. We’d rather go dancing in las Cruces de Mayo in the beautiful city of Cordoba.
Salsa and Cuba
This is probably the most popular dance of all! You can find locals to dance salsa almost in any city in the world. You can learn how to dance salsa, learn the pattern and the moves and feel the music, but when you see a Cuban dancing salsa you’ll see what is like to really dance salsa. Cubans love to have a good time and music and salsa do that like nothing else. Salsa is part of the Cuban culture. It pulses through their veins.
As with many other dances, salsa has African roots mixed with the dance performed in Versalles and adopted by the Spaniards and some Haitian influence.
When you walk around La Havana, you can see people dancing in the streets and there are many places with live music to dance to. It’s a must if you are in the island to spend a night out and visit one of the spots for salsa in La Havana, you can try Jardines del 1830, located in the garden of an old mansion or the authentic El Sauce. Check before you go and if Buena Vista Club Social
is playing, you have to go! They are amazing to watch.
If you are traveling to Cuba, watch the Chico y Rita movie; it will give you great insight into what salsa is all about!
Egypt and Belly Dance
Belly Dance (rakssharqi) is a type of dance popular in the Middle East. There are versions of it in Turkey, Lebanon and Egypt. It is a social dance performed in happy occasions such as weddings and celebrations. Traveler tribes coming from India all the way to Egypt and Turkey, used to perform out in the streets to earn a living.
Some of the most famous belly dancers and musicians can be found in Egypt, especially in Cairo. Originally men and women used to dance, but this changed over time as the public preferred to watch women perform.
Besides being entertaining it’s fun and helps you stay fit. A characteristic of Egyptian Oriental dancers is that sometimes they enter carrying a piece of fabric to music that is very fast and dramatic, adding some mystery and beauty to this beautiful show.
In Egypt you can enjoy shows at five star hotels such as the Marriot
, the Sheraton
or on several of the Nile cruises. When visiting the country you can buy a gorgeous outfit to practice at home!