We bet you didn’t expect to be dancing your way across the world, but here at Black Tomato we’ve discovered that dance and travel are basically the same thing. So why not incorporate some boogying into your adventures, especially when so many of our top destinations have become famous for their dances. We’re itching to tell you about our pick of shimmying destinations that will guarantee to get your toes tapping.
Tango encapsulates perfectly the passion of Buenos Aires. As the tango capital of the world, spectators flock to tanguerías to watch this sensual and nostalgic dance loaded with history, secrets and passion. Originally from just round the corner in Río de la Plata, tango is a fusion of local gaucho culture, African culture and European immigrant culture. Not only can you watch the professionals do their thing, but also there are hundreds of milongas dotted across the city that give tango classes and stay open all night so you can dance the night away.
Return to the home of ballet to watch world-class ballerinas spinning across the stage and prepare to be astonished as they effortlessly do the splits in the air. Whilst we may not be able to turn you into a ballerina during a trip to St. Petersburg, we can recommend you take a trip to the Mariinsky theatre to see one of the classics, after all there’s a reason they have been running ever since the 19th century.
Think carnival, think Rio. The happy, flirtatious and exuberant Samba dancers weave through the streets in jewel encrusted outfits. Its belly-dance style moves are accentuated by sounds of Brazilian instruments such as the tamborim, chocalho, reco-reco and cabaca, which unite thousands of people under the sounds of Samba. With many Samba schools across Brazil, you don’t need to come during carnival to learn the moves because Samba is very much ingrained in daily life here.
Merengue, Dominican Republic
The frenetic music accompanied by the slow movements creates an intimate dance. With both African and French influences, this dance has distinct roots from other Latin American ones but don’t get us wrong we can’t help but join in with the shuffling and hip-wiggling. The twisting and turning of the couples linked hands makes us think of a pretzel, and that reminds us of the delish Dominican Republic food where you can find every type of bean under the sun. Don’t miss either.
Traditionally a celebration of the harvest, Bhangra originates from the Punjab state of India but has crossed so many borders that we hear it blasting out our radios. So whilst you check out the Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar, make time to see a Bhangra performance. We can’t help but tap our feet to the pulsating rhythm of the Bhangra drum and the vigour and cheerfulness of the dancers always puts a smile on our face. It’s safe to say we are off to join the nearest Bhangra club.
Watching grass skirts and flower garlands fluttering in the wind whilst sipping on cocktails on the beach? It can only be Hula in Hawaii. What better a dance to make you feel on holiday. This worldwide symbol of Hawaiian culture shows off the beauty of Hawaiian people and the laidback attitude on the island. Join in with the swaying in seasonal festivals and competitions or why not let us organise you a private show or class.
Mask Dancing, Bhutan
In the happiest country in the world, monks perform what can only be described as a tantalising mask dance. Rich with yellows and green with gold and red embellishments, their robes fan out around them as they re-enact Buddhist stories. Taking on the roles of wrathful deities, heroes and demons as they leap through the temple courtyards perfectly in time, the dance is accompanied by cymbals, drums, and horns giving you the sense that you are watching something from another world.
Geisha Dance, Japan
Whilst usually westerners do not get the chance to see the elusive Geisha, fortunately for us Kyoto puts on annual public Geisha performances giving us the chance to marvel at the graceful movements of Japan’s symbol of beauty. Based on Japanese folk tales, these performances coincide with seasonal festivities, and our favourite time to visit is when the cherry blossom is in full bloom, a smouldering pink compliment to these enigmatic women.
And last but by no means least, there’s the Flamenco of Andalucia. Composed of four parts – song, dance, guitar and clapping – the primitive cry of the singer is accompanied by rhythmic stomping to portray a wistful story. Seville is the best place in Spain to watch this spectacle with ruffled red skirts and sultry faces, and there are hundreds of flamenco cafes dotted around the city. You’ll thank us after learning the oxymoronic art of gracefully stomping your feet in one of the top Flamenco schools in Spain.