TORONTO -- (Marketwired) -- Jun 25, 2013 -- "Let's dance!" say the travel experts at Cheapflights.ca, the online leader in finding and publishing travel deals. From summer festivals to weddings to Canada Day celebrations and more -- there's no shortage of reasons and opportunities to dance. So the Cheapflights team has choreographed a list of Top 10 Local Dances around the World with details on the roots and influence of everything from samba and salsa to the Irish stepdance and New Zealand Haka. This list may just inspire you to put on your dance shoes and bust a move.
Here are five dance traditions from our list that have had a strong influence on the cultural scene well beyond their home country:
- Irish Stepdance - Ireland - Michael Flatley and his Riverdance might make Irish stepdance look unsuitable (if not impossible) for amateurs, but this long-standing dance tradition has many styles performed at all levels. While Irish stepdance can be traced back to pre-Christian times across Ireland, nowadays it has become a staple at Irish festivals or St. Patrick's Day events all over the world. But for those looking to strut their stepdancing stuff, it's not just about the dance moves; traditional garb and Irish music are usually necessities.
- Samba - Brazil - Samba is more than a dance in Brazil; it's a symbol of the Brazilian people and a cultural life force. Much of the world associates samba with the Brazilian Carnival, but there are actually more than seven different types of samba and it is always danced in conjunction with samba music, a lively style of music usually consisting of guitars, tambourines and drums. If you find yourself in Brazil wanting to samba but are unsure of the moves, don't be shy. Brazilians love showing off their skills, and you'll have no problem finding a dance partner.
- Harlem Shake - New York, United States - We know you've seen countless YouTube videos of dancers shaking their limbs to the rapid beat of Baauer's "Harlem Shake", but believe it or not, the real Harlem shake is a dance with actual moves brought over to Harlem from Eastern Africa in the early 1980s. It's derived from a dance called Eskista, which, like the Harlem shake, involves lots of shoulder quaking and head quivering. But don't let that deter you from practising your moves for the next flashmob -- we're sure you'll pick up the real Harlem shake in no time.
- Flamenco - Spain - As with many cultural folk dances, flamenco is an art form. Derived from the Spanish word for flame, the flamenco dance is known for its passion and intensity and is usually made up of singing, guitar playing, feet stomping and the iconic hand claps. In addition to music and dance, the costumes worn play an important part in the tradition and are designed to accentuate the movements of the dancers so audience members' senses are heightened in all aspects.
- Salsa - Cuba - Salsa dancing has exploded in recent decades as a popular pastime thanks to salsa dance clubs and music becoming more popular in countries all over the world. Since its inception during the 1920s, the Cuban dance tradition has taken on new and different styles, including New York style, LA style, Miami style and Colombian style, making it one of the most popular international dances. But it's not just a dance for the experts -- with its simple foot movements, just about anyone can learn how to salsa dance.
Rounding out our dance list and their places of origin are: Hula -- Hawaii, United States; Bon Odori -- Japan; Ghoomar -- Rajasthan, India; Maypole Dance -- United Kingdom and Haka -- New Zealand. To get into the dance groove, check out Cheapflights.ca's complete list of Top 10 Local Dances around the World at www.cheapflights.ca/travel/top-10-local-dances-around-the-world.
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