International Dance Day: Our favourite dances from beach destinations

One of the best things about going on holiday is experiencing different cultures and values, whether it’s enjoying some local cuisine or showing off our language skills, our fondest memories can sometimes come from experiencing these different cultures. To celebrate International Dance Day on 29th April, we’ve chosen some of our favourite traditional dances from our most popular destinations to get you in the mood for your next culture-bending holiday…

Spain: Flamenco

One of the most recognisable dances from around the world is the Flamenco, which originated in the southern regions of Spain with influences from Latin America and Cuba.     

There are four main steps in the Flamenco, Cante (voice), Baile (dance), Toque (guitar) and Jaleo (hell-raising) all of which come together to create the exciting dance we all know and love. Originally, the dancing took place without any music and just the sound of clapping and feet stomping, with the guitar being added over time. 

What’s great about this dance is that flamenco dancers hardly recieve any training as they are taught by friends, relatives and neighbours… 

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Greece: Zorba’s Dance (Sirtaki)

Folk dancing in Greece is still as popular as ever with many locals and visitors to the mainland and the many Greek islands all taking part in some form of dancing. 

One dance that is pretty well known is Zorba’s dance, from the famous 1964 film Zorba the Greek starring Anthony Quinn. The dance is a mixture of the slow and fast versions of the Hasapiko dance and one of the more recent Greek folk dances…

In 2012, the Sirtaki Guinness World Record was broken by 5,614 people dancing to Zorba the Greek for 5 full minutes.

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Turkey: Whirling Dervish 

Today, the Whirling Dervish perform primarily for tourists but when it started in the 13th century, it was embodied with religious meaning.

The camel hair hat worn during the dance represents the tombstone of the ego, while the white skirt symbolises the ego’s shroud. When the dancer removes their black coat, this signifies their rebirth into the truth and the crossing of the arms over the chest represents a sole connection with God. 

Nat-i-Serif is the song that begins the dance, with performers making a circular, anti-clockwise procession thrice around turning space. They then greet each other three times, representing the three stages of knowledge; knowledge learned from others, knowledge learned from observation and knowledge learned through experience. 

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Mexico: Jarabe Tapatia

More commonly known as The Mexican Hat Dance, the Jarabe Tapatia is one of the most popular and recognisable dances in Mexico that originated in the state of Jalisco.

The dance represents the courtship of a man and a woman, with the woman first rejecting the man’s advances then eventually accepting them. The traditional dress for the dance is known as China Poblana which consists of a blouse and long skirt, while the traditional music is usually played by mariachi bands or bands playing only string instruments. 

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Croatia: Kolo

The most popular dance in Croatia is the Kolo. Other varieties of this dance can be found in countries such as Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Hungary. 

The dance is also know as the Circle Dance, as dancers simply follow themselves round in a circle. The dance is often referred to as the oldest form of dance and can be seen to show an expression of community and togetherness. Up until WWII, the dance was used as a social gathering and was usually the place where men and women would meet for the first time.  

The dance is still performed today, particularly at weddings, harvests and other religious gatherings.  

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Have you tried any of these dances? Let us know in the comment section below… 


Written on 28th April 2017 by

Joshua Carry-James

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