Humans have been dancing throughout history. Since the earliest of civilizations until now, we haven’t stopped moving. There’s so much to love about dancing, but it’s especially interesting as a traveler.
When we travel, we get a glimpse into the lives of people around the world. Seeing how different cultures, places, and people choose to express themselves through dance is one of the best ways to truly experience a new destination. If the world was more open to dancing around the world, we would live in a much happier society.
In this article, I’m taking you with me on a dance around the world. We’ll explore a bit of the history of dance, as well as some of the most unique dances you’ll find around the globe. The world isn’t such a big place when we’re joining hands in a new dance.
The History of Dancing
How long have humans been dancing? Basically from the first known moments of human history. Ancient rituals, spiritual ceremonies, and expression all revolved around dance. From there, the power of dance quite literally spread across the globe.
The oldest evidence of dance we have comes from over 9000 years ago. In Indian cave paintings, we found scenes of human hunting, childbirth, burials, and even dancing. The problem with dancing is that it’s hard to study in past civilizations. While we can trace things like language and art through artifacts and relics, the same isn’t true of dance movements.
Scientists instead need to look for other clues like these cave paintings or artifacts showing dancing. For instance, researchers found evidence of dancing in ancient Egypt where dance was a key part of religious ceremonies. Tomb paintings show how priests would create music while dancers followed the stories of gods and celestial patterns.
In ancient Greece, dance became something that was regular and public. It was no longer confined to rituals and celebrations. The greek were the first to launch a theater for dance in the 6th century BC. Dances were used for celebrations, entertainment, and even seduction.
Fast forward to the Renaissance in Europe and dance took on a new form that mixed in new music and fashion styles. New types of dances emerged and spread. Today, we’re left with reminders of these early forms of dance, and we have new ones we’ve gained along the way.
Dances from Around the World
You’re probably already familiar with a lot of the global dance styles. You’ve seen popular music videos showing off Bollywood dance, the salsa, and even the waltz. Shows like So You Think You Can Dance challenged dancers from around the world to take center stage. Today, we’re constantly surrounded by these dance styles, many of which stem from ancient traditions. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular dances from around the world.
Samba (Brazil) – If you’ve seen the bright costumes and colors of Carnival in Rio de Janerio, then you’ve seen some of the best samba in the world. Samba is a traditional Brazilian dance featuring colorful costumes, hip movements, followed with a lot of excitement.
Bollywood Dance (India) – Bollywood now boasts the largest film industry in the world, and much of it has to do with Bollywood dance. From the final scene of film-favorite Slumdog Millionaire to smaller flicks, Bollywood dance incorporates elements of traditional Indian dances with western styles like Hip Hop.
Dragon Dance (China) – No Chinese New Year celebration would be complete without dragon dancing. You’ve certainly seen these larger-than-life dragons on display with choreographed dancers making it come to life. The best way to see this is to visit China during the Lunar New Year celebration.
Lyrical Dance (United States) – In America, there are a lot of competing dance styles. However, few have grown quite as fast as lyrical dancing. With lyrical dancing, dancers use a variety of dance techniques like ballet and jazz to perform to lyrical numbers. Featuring the most gorgeous lyrical dance costumes from Alexandra, there’s a lot to love about this breathtaking style.
Ballet (Russia) – Few dance styles are as elegant and romantic as ballet. This dance style was first popularized in Russia, though it’s now spread across the world. You’ll recognize this style by it’s pointed, balanced moves like the pirouette and plie.
Dance Brings the World Together
Dances might show our differences, but they also bring us together. As travelers, it’s our job to enjoy all aspects of new cultures. We’re all quick to try the best food and see the best sights, but what about dances? Not only can you experience traditional dances while you’re in a new country, but you can take these moves with you everywhere you go.
Let’s make the world a more lively, energetic place. From the Dragon Dances of China to the Carnival Samba in Brazil, we all have a unique way of moving that takes us into a new culture. How do you like to move? What are your favorite ways to explore the world of dance?