By now, you’ve probably realised that we have been featuring quite a number of ballet-related posts. Both Grace and I are ballerinas, so it makes sense. However! Today, we are taking a break from the world of ballet, and instead looking at other types of dances around the world. Giving you and ourselves a breath of fresh air, let’s take a look at 6 (out of the many, many) different dances around the world!
Did you know? The Samba was created by the Africans in Brazil from the music and dance culture brought over from Africa. Originally, the term “samba” referred to any Latin duet dances with origins from Congo and Angola. The Samba is also not just a single dance, but rather a set of dances, and today it is also the most well-known dance in all of Brazil! Whether you choose to dance it out in a street carnival or a professional competition, you should always have your fierce-yet-fun look on.
2. Shaolin Monk Dance
Sure, mention “Shaolin” and your mind goes straight to martial arts, and of course you aren’t wrong. If you’ve been trained in dance, you’d know that it takes a great deal of perseverance and discipline for any kind of achievement. It’s the same with martial arts. Shaolin monks originate from Hunan, China, and they are (obviously) well-known for their martial art skills. Essentially, both dance and martial arts are movements, and so some Shaolin monks have combined their knowledge and movements into perfectly co-ordinated formations – a dance!
The sexy, sultry dance that reminds you of rose-biting comes from Argentina. A popular partner and social dance, it emerged in the 1880s, and is actually a combination of many other dance styles, including the German Waltz, Czech Polka, Polish Mazurka, Bohemian Schottische, Spanish-Cuban Habanera, African Candombe, and of course, the Argentinian Milonga. Modern-day tango evolved from the musical gatherings of slaves in Argentina, in which authorities actually attempted to ban as early as 1789.
4. Belly Dance
Hailing from Egypt, belly dance, also known as Arabic dance, is one that emphasises complex movements of the torso. As such, individual movements of the limbs are not of major importance, but the body and primarily the hips do most of the work. Depending on the style and music, they can be staccato or fluid movements, or shimmies and shivers. Often, the belly is left bare, and dancers can choose to use props such as scarves to make their dance more visually-stimulating.
The Flamenco is a comprehensive art form that combines cante (singing), toque (guitar playing), baile (dance), jaleo (vocalisations and chorus clapping), palmas (hand-clapping) and pitos (finger snapping). As such, Flamenco is hardly a solo act, though the dancer will naturally take centrestage. The beautiful thing about Flamenco is, in my opinion, the interaction of all the performers on stage, as they complement and back each other up. Feet stamping, clapping, and snapping are prevalent in this Spanish dance, so it’s a rhythmically-driven type of dance.
Whichever you call it, this dance is extremely popular in Russia and Ukraine, and it is even known as the national dance of Ukraine. It was originally a male folk dance with crazy-looking acrobatic feats, but later on it was also picked up by groups, male soloists, and even groups! The group dances are especially entertaining with many to watch; female dancers usually perform a set of choreographed movements, while the males perform more technically-demanding acrobatic feats which include squat sequences, jumps and spins.
Of course, we are barely skimming the surface of the various, wonderful types of dances in the world. We do hope to build a larger community, and get to explore other types of dances. Besides these dances, what other dances do you know of, or have tried before? Share them with us in the comments below!
Embarking on the journey of self-discovery through dance.