The world’s cultures are as rich as they are diverse, and the artistic expression of each is what truly makes a nation unique and beautiful. You can learn a lot about a region’s background by their artistic traditions and, more specifically, through their style of dance. Let this quick guide be your introduction to a few of the wonderfully different styles of dance from around the world.
Dragon Dance, China
China’s traditional Dragon Dance is a performance often used during the Chinese New Year and other festive celebrations. The presentation involves a long, flexible dragon draped over several poles that a team of experienced dancers holds onto as they move. Dancers use fluid and undulating movements meant to simulate the river spirit that the dragon represents. Dragons are standing symbols of China’s culture, so the Chinese believe that these dances bring good fortune and luck to a community. The longer the dragon dances, the more fortune a community will receive.
Cuban-style salsa, formally known as Casino, is a salsa dance style that gained popularity in the 1970s in Cuba. Timba music usually accompanies Cuban-style salsa, with its intricate turning patterns and tight body isolations. Unlike its counterparts, it’s danced in a circular pattern rather than in a slot motion. Cuban salsa is also widely known for being more “street” and less technical while also taking influence from other dance forms such as rumba and guaguancó.
Break Dance, United States
Break dancing is an athletic form of street dance that originated in the United States. This kind of dance is versatile and largely dependent on the performer, but four fundamental movements are involved with break dance. These movements are referred to as top rock, down rock, power moves, and freezes, and every breakdance routine uses these basic motions as its groundwork. Break dance originated among the youth in African American and Puerto Rican communities in the 1970s and uses hip-hop, funk, soul, and breakbeat music as accompaniment. Through the decades, this dance form has become one of the most popular dance forms in the States.
Step Dance, Ireland
Irish step dance is a style of performance with deep roots in Irish tradition. It’s known for its fast and precise footwork and stiff upper body movements. These dances occur on numerous occasions, the most popular of which are competitive showcases referred to as feiseanna, or traditional Gaelic arts and culture festivals. Costumes are essential parts of Irish step dance, and because females predominantly perform the dances, the dances require bright, ornately patterned dresses, tiaras, and Hullachan Irish dance shoes. Although this form of dance has branched off from some of its origins, the Irish nation still highly regards it as one of its proudest cultural arts.
Dance isn’t just a moving form of self-expression; it can also reveal much about the traditions and rich cultural backgrounds of nations globally. Hopefully, this guide has given you a solid introduction to some of the different dance styles from around the world.