Dancing across the Continents
There is a plethora of unique and varied styles of dance across the world. Most countries have a type of traditional dancing. It seems we really love to dance. So in honour of side stepping, shuffles and arabesques here are the top ten dance styles from across the continents.
There are many theories about the origins of this dance. Some believe that it originated in ancient upper Egypt but others say it developed in Uzbekistan and then passed into India. The basic steps involve body isolation techniques particularly of the shoulders, chest and hips. Sharp angular thrusts, circular hip movements and shimmies are common in every belly dance routine. The costumes are vibrant in colour and cover the legs but expose the entire stomach and chest in order to accentuate the isolation movements. Often face veils and hip belts with bells or jangling coins are worn.
Flamenco dancing is still a fundamental part of Spanish culture and the beautiful flamenco music and husky singers play a vital role in the performance. The costumes are usually dresses in blood reds and deep crimsons with long raffled sleeves and fish tail skirts. The delicate hand movements are a sharp contrast to the strong foot stomping and robust head moves.
This type of dance was born in the tropical heats of Cuba and Puerto Rico and is performed with a partner. This is a very sensual art form renowned for its flirtatious and lively frolics.
Tap has its foundations in the USA, and focuses almost solely on the feet and intricate movements to create rhythm from the metal plates on the shoes.
Ballet although now world-wide began in France and Russia, most of its technique names are in french. The dance usually portrays a story, idea or emotion and dancers glide effortlessly across the stage in elegant and swan-like movements.
Jazz finds its roots in African-American culture from the jazz clubs in areas such as New Orleans. Jazz is an energetic form of dance and also incorporates other styles of dance creating a multi-form genre of performance.
This is one of the most liveliest and jumpy dance styles I have ever seen, the music is infectious and makes you want to dance along. Originating in Punjab, the energetic arm movements and drums offset the colourful and elaborate costumes adding to the lively atmosphere.
Irish Step Dance
Performed solo or in troupes, dancers stiffen their bodies and perform intricate foot work, including flicks, hops and high jumps. The dance has held its popularity and can be seen all over the world, as well as in the annual competitions.
This is a classical Japanese dance known for its incorporation of drama and elaborate make-up. Both men and women perform kabuki and it began in the 1600’s.
This dance is from Kenya and often involves the males springing up high from the ground and while jumping staying stiff in the air.