Top dance styles from around the World
With the incredible success and popularity of programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing and music videos such as the South Korean hit ‘Gangnam Style’, dancing has never been so popular, or so much in the public eye. We take a look at the top five most famous dance styles from around the world, who knows as an expat in one of these countries you may have already learnt the moves yourself!
Argentine Tango (Argentina)
The Argentine Tango is easily the most passionate and risqué dances in the world with partners getting up close and personal to perform their dance moves. Argentine tango dancing is made up of a variety of styles that developed in different regions and time periods, and in response to the crowding of the venue and even the fashions in clothing. The present form of the dance developed in Argentina but was also exposed to influences re-imported from Europe and North America especially Spain that is famous for the more traditional version. The Argentine tango is danced in an embrace that can vary from very open, in which leader and follower connect at arm’s length, to very closed, in which the connection is chest-to-chest, or anywhere in between. Tango dance is essentially walking with a partner and the music. Dancing to the emotion and speed of a tango is extremely important to dancing tango; a good dancer is one who transfers the feeling of the music to their partner, leading them effectively throughout the dance. Also, dancers generally keep their feet close to the floor as they walk the ankles and knees brushing as one leg passes the other.
Viennese Waltz (Germany/Austria)
First performed in the 18th century the Viennese waltz was danced in the courts of royalty across Europe. At the time the dance was considered to be morally offensive due to the closeness the partner s bodies had to be. These days it’s pretty tame compared to some of the other styles out there. The Viennese Waltz is a rotary dance where the dancers are constantly turning either in a clockwise (natural) or anti-clockwise (reverse) direction interspersed with non-rotating change steps to switch between the directions of the rotation. A true Viennese waltz consists only of turns and change steps. Other moves such as the fleckerls, American-style figures and side sway or underarm turns are modern inventions and are not normally danced at the annual balls in Vienna. Furthermore, in a properly danced Viennese Waltz, couples do not pass, but turn continuously left and right while travelling counter-clockwise around the floor following each other.
The Pasodoble is a traditional dance from Spain that attempts to mimic the sounds, drama and movements of a Spanish or Portuguese bullfight. The leader of the dance plays the part of the bullfighter whilst the partner plays the part of the matador’s cape. Because of its inherently choreographed tradition, ballroom Paso Doble for the most part is danced only competitively, and very rarely socially, or at least not without sticking to some sort of previously learned routine. The Pasodoble is often used by ice skaters and is also performed at any Spanish parties or big occasions such as weddings.
Irish dancing (Ireland)
Made famous by the show ‘Riverdance’ Irish dancing is practised the world over but naturally its home is its birthplace in Ireland. Irish dance is known for its rapid leg and foot movements with the body and arms being kept straight and immobile at the sides of the body. The style can be performed either solo or in groups with most competitions being of the solo variety. Irish dancing is similar to a combination of line and tap dancing and is often performed for big occasions such as festivals.
Belly Dancing (Egypt/Turkey)
Belly dancing has been performed in the Middle East for centuries but only became popular in the West during the 18th and 19th centuries when Western explorers and country’s began to take an interest in the region. The dance was performed throughout the Arab world, especially the Ottoman Empire.
Most of the movements in belly dancing involve moving different parts of the body (hips, shoulders, chest, stomach, etc.), which appear similar to the isolations used in jazz ballet, but is often driven differently. Correct posture and muscle control is as important in belly dance as it is in other fields of dance. In most belly dance styles, the focus is on the hip and pelvic area. Due to the diversity of styles and ‘origins’ of the dance, many of the moves are referred to by a wide variety of different terminologies. However, from an observer’s point of view belly dance includes certain key elements.
If you know of any other top dancing styles from expat country’s let us know on Twitter!