With Strictly Come Dancing now in full swing, we thought it was about time that we joined in the fun and shared with you some of our favourite moves. We’ve moon-walked far and wide, chasséd high and low, and box-stepped across the globe to search for the very best dances out there, and here they are. Care to join us for a boogie?
An icon of Brazilian identity, Samba is a dance known worldwide for its lively, vibrant nature. Originally performed as a solo dance characterised by rapid steps and a swaying, rocking motion, Samba is not an easy dance to learn. However, it’s the partner version of Samba that we all know and love the most, despite it not rocking around until the 1940s.
Most of us will associate the genre of tap dance with classic musicals, old-school Hollywood and Fred Astaire. Although we’re correct to so, it was a fusion of ethnic percussive dances that made tap the dance it is today. African tribal dance, English clogs and an Irish gig were a few of the contributors to the creation of this dance style. And thank the lords of dance that it all came together, or else a small talented penguin would never have gotten his big break. Happy Feet anyone?
Flamenco is a Spanish art form made up of three components. Guitar playing, song, and of course, dance! Like most dances, Flamenco has taken its fair share of inspiration from across the globe, however it’s the Spanish who do it best. Filled with stomping feet, intense facial expressions and fiery passion, it’s a rather dramatic number, and not an easy one to perfect.
Image © salajean
Made popular by the infamous ‘Riverdance’ and ‘Lord of the Dance’, Irish Stepdance is a style that many around the world will be quite familiar with. Characterized by a stiff upper body and a lot of fast-paced foot tapping and stomping, Stepdance is a competitive folk dance performed across the whole of Ireland. Why not grab yourself a pint of Guinness and join in the jig?
Image © Kobby Dagan
The slowest of the competitive international Latin styles, is the sexy, sassy and sensual dance of the Rumba. Although born all over the West Indies, Cuba is the true home of this popular dance style. The most important feature of a Rumba is keeping a constant connection with your partner, all contained within a slow-quick-quick rhythm. So make sure its with someone that you like, or else things may get a little awkward…
It’s not known for sure where Ballet originated from. Some say Italy, others say France, and many believe it’s Russia. Let’s just say all three had a major part to play in creating this beautiful dance form that is still danced in most countries around the world today. And with a normal performance lasting around an average of four hours, it’s not a dance for the faint-hearted.
Image © Paolo Bona
Perhaps the most obscure dance style of this list, is the New Zealand Haka. Historically a traditional war cry, war dance or challenge in Māori culture, the Haka is performed by a group and contains stomping and vigorous movements, along with a lot of shouting. Nowadays the moves have been brought to international attention by the All Blacks (New Zealand rugby union team), who perform it before every single match.
The Tango is a partner dance that originated in the 1880s in the slums and bars of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The dance style is now famous all around the world. It’s an intense and dramatic dance that must be accompanied with a lot of passion and character in order to be effective. Full of quick foot flicks and sharp head turns, it’s definitely one of the harder dances to get right.
Probably the most fun and lively dance on this list, the Charleston is packed full of character. A social dance made popular in the mid-1920s by young women (Flappers) and young men in the United States, the Charleston is known for its outward heel kicks combined accompanied by bouncy movements. Throw in some fast-paced leg swinging and big arm movements, and we feel pretty out of breath even thinking about it!