One thing world cultures have in common is an appreciation of dance. Although it may fill a few of us with sheer terror, learning how to dance is also a way to explore different cultures around the world. Here are five dances from around the world to try at home.
Bhangra is a high-intensity dance that traces its origins back to late 19th-century Punjab, India. The traditional folk dance was done to celebrate the harvest. Over the years, the dance has grown in popularity and has been featured in countless Bollywood a few Hollywood movies. Nowadays, Bhangra is usually grooved to over loud upbeat tunes, some featuring traditional instruments like the dhol drum and tumbi. Get a serious workout while learning the most basic steps. For those looking to really delve into the dance, Learn Bhangra offers a host of online classes.
Flamenco’s origins are filled with mystery; though many link the art form to the movements of the Roma population to southern Spain and mixing with cultures already in the region. There are six elements to Flamenco: cante (singing), toque (guitar playing), baile (dance), jaleo (singing and chorus), palmas (hand clapping), and pitos (finger snapping). Most of the tutorials you’ll find on YouTube focus on the baile and palmas.
"In dancing flamenco, the dancer learns to step into her power and step up to be seen. She learns to be emotionally strong like teflon yet vulnerable enough to express her emotions through dance," says Rina Orellana of The Rina Orellana Flamenco Company, Academy and Online Studio.
3. Country line dancing
Cowboy boots, hats and live country music, line dancing isn’t made for stuffy ballrooms, but rather lively bars and saloons. Country line dancing’s roots can be traced back to folk dances like the contra. Line dancing experienced a bit of a resurgence in the 1990s thanks to Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achy Breaky Heart,” and is now seen in honky tonks from Nashville to Austin. The routines begin with a few from basic steps to more complex variations that will test even the steadiest of snakeskin-shoed feet.
4. Afro-Pop dance
Currently the hottest dance craze across all social media platforms. Afrobeats and Afro-pop is a fast-paced, rhythmic sound that has origins in traditional African music and rap. The dance moves are a melding of traditional and new-age moves from various countries throughout the continent of Africa. Some of the dance moves include the gwara gwara (South African), azonto (Ghana), shoki (Nigeria) and shaku shaku (Nigeria). Though it may take a little while before you get the dance moves down, don’t let that stop you from enjoying the vibe.
If you can move your hips, you can salsa. The energetic (and a little sexy) dance hails from Cuba but quickly made its way throughout the rest of the Caribbean and into sections of the United States with high Latino populations. The music is uptempo with lots of brass, drums and piano. The dance moves focus primarily on the hips, but also incorporates some arm and shoulder movements. Leave your inhibitions behind and allow the music to really take hold. Dancer, Magga Braco offers a fun, bilingual tutorial.