5 Traditional Dances for Your At-Home Dance Floor

It’s International Dance Day! And what better way to celebrate than to master the art of some of the most famous traditional dances in the world.

Traditional dances: The flamenco

Photo credit: The TreadRight Foundation

Happy International Dance Day! While we’re all finding ways to stay entertained and travel from the comfort of our own homes, we can celebrate today with some new dance moves. To bring culture and movement into our lives, why not try some traditional dances from around the globe? This way, once we’re all able to travel again, we’ll be ready to shake it as we get out and explore in real life, while also understanding the significance of each distinct dance form. Thanks to our friends at Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold, here are some of the most notable traditional dances to discover and worth opening your own at-home dance floor for.

Traditional Dances: FLAMENCO (SPAIN) 

The most enthralling, passionate performances live in Spain which naturally, brings flamenco to the top of the list. Flamenco has become a way of life and began as a means to express the culture and language of the Andalusian and gypsy populations back in the 15th-century. Rhythm and the expression of emotion are its most important aspect achieved via profound, elegant movements by the female dancer and the seemingly arrogant movement by the male dancers. In 2010, UNESCO recognized flamenco as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity given its contribution to Spanish culture. To keep this art form alive, the Cristina Heeren Foundation exists to promote, teach and conserve flamenco both in Andalusia and Spain, as well as internationally. Thanks to a TreadRight Foundation grant that provided scholarships to deserving students (including Makeda Benitez, a Canadian dancer), the flamenco tradition will live on in the local community by allowing students to continue their studies. You can visit this Seville dance school with Insight Vacations or Luxury Gold when we’re able to travel again and learn from the masters themselves with a private dance class, before enjoying a remarkable performance that will leave you in tears.

Traditional Dances: TANGO (ARGENTINA)

Originating in the streets of Buenos Aires, tango today lives on as one of the most popular dances in world. It started as a dance of the European immigrants and the working class. A number of influences from native and European cultures like Spain, Italy, England, Poland, Russia along with the native-born Argentinians all created this form of dance dating back to the mid-1800s and early 1900s. Polka, European minuet dances and even African dances played a part in shaping the Argentinian classic. Tango is characterized by the sensuality of the paired dance and follows music with four beats, accented notes and nostalgic lyrics which reflect the desire for a better life as shared by the immigrants of Argentina. The playful nature of tango makes it a fun one to practice at home with your partner, roommate or on your own!  

traditional dances: A person standing in front of a building

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Photo by Toufic Mobarak on Unsplash

Traditional Dances: SAMBA (BRAZIL)

Samba and Rio’s Carnival go hand in hand, serving as the ultimate symbol of Brazil and its culture. Samba is characterized by its voluptuous dance moves, lively rhythm and embellished costumes with vibrant feathers, sequins and more. The word “semba” means “invitation to dance” and “samba” translates to the worship of a deity so in other words, the dance served a religious purpose in the beginning. It is said that samba was first created in the early 17th-century at Pedra do Sal, which was a popular Afro-Brazilian meeting point, and the reason why popular Brazilian samba music is influenced by regions of African like Yoruba and Congo. To experience the heartbeat of Brazilian culture, turn on some carnivalesque tunes and infuse your world with a samba dance class and perhaps even a caipirinha on the side. 

Traditional dances: A group of people wearing costumes

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Image by ArtTower from Pixabay

Traditional Dances: WALTZ (AUSTRIA) 

Travel to Vienna through waltz, a dance born here and in the alpine region of Austria during the 17th-century. Waltzes filled the ballrooms of the Hapsburg court and were similar to early peasant dances in Bavaria which were popular prior to the creation of waltz. “Waltzen” literally means to turn or glide which is fitting as the dance itself involves exactly that. Originally, waltz was considered an immoral dance because of the proximity of the dancers which created controversy among the older population of the aristocracy or religious figures. Later on, towards the ends of the 18th-century and early 19th, waltz became so popular that public dance halls were opened and the world’s most famed composers like Johann Strauss created the finest of music for people to dance to such as The Blue Danube or Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Flowers. As an easy dance to follow with a step, a slide and another step, it won’t be difficult to get swept away in your at-home ballroom with classical music in 3/4 time. Enjoy this little piece of Austria!

Traditional Dances: BOLLYWOOD DANCE (INDIA) 

The ultimate fusion of all dances can be found in Indian films, bringing together a combination of belly dancing, classical dance (Kathak and Bharatanatyam), Indian folk and modern jazz from the western world. Bollywood movies will always showcase music and dance, similar to what is known as “a musical” in the west. This dance form uses distinct hand movements that are used as sign language to help tell a story, while the side-to-side neck movement which differentiates Indian dance is used by the dancers to help them become more expressive, alongside facial expressions. Costumes are also elaborate, and dancers are adorned with gold jewellery and bells around their ankles to emphasize foot work. To bring the dance into your home, movies like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995) or Devdas (2002) will feature the very best of Bollywood dance to help you turn your living room into your own Bollywood movie scene and dance floor.  And, when we’re all ready to explore again, enter the world of Bollywood live on-site with incredible journeys like Inspirational India, A Wander Women Journey which is the first women’s only journey for Insight Vacations!