Dancing Around the World

Dancing is one of the many unique ways to express yourself and your culture.

Flamenco is a dance that originates from southern Spanish region of Andalucia and is well-known in Seville. This unique dance has been around for about 400 years and used to be a dance for the poor, which usually included the Gypsies, Moors, and Jews in the 16th century. Typically a woman dances, while a man plays the guitar and sings. Today the songs can either be dramatic and forceful to express a protest or dissatisfaction, or lighter to show happiness or a sense of humor.

Khon is one of the six traditional dances from Thailand, in which the dancers wear masks and elaborate costumes. The story told through dance is based on the Hindu Ramayana epics from India and is depicted as a drama as the performers act and dance. While they dance, a chorus sings to create a narrative for the audience to follow since the dancers cannot speak. Originally, only men were allowed to participate in the dance and it was held in a royal court, but now women are also an important part of the dance that now takes place on a stage. Some of the sets of characters: male, female, demons, celestial beings and monkeys.

In Brazil, the fast paced couples dance called Samba originates from the 16th century when Brazil was a colony of Portugal. The slaves that were brought over from Angola were told they couldn’t worship their own gods by their Christian Portuguese masters. After awhile, the Portuguese became suspicious of the slaves dances and tried to outlaw the parties where they gathered to dance. Today, Samba is a national symbol of Brazil, most common in the Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo region. It is a typical dance during Carnival and is well-known throughout the world. The music is typically composed with drums and guitar.

There are many unique dances around the world. So next time you travel, make sure you make some time in your agenda to see the dances live or even take a class.

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