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Dance Around the World


The art of dance comes from all corners of the world and many of the styles we dance today are amalgamations of influences from three or four countries. Dance is constantly evolving as new groups discover new styles and add their unique stamp.

We look at the origins of some of our favourite global styles.
1. Samba (Brazil)
Samba is a lively, rhythmical dance of Brazilian origin danced in 2/4 time. However, there are three steps to every bar, making the Samba feel like a 3/4 timed dance. Its origins include the Maxixe, occasionally known as the Brazilian Tango. The Samba music rhythm has been danced in Brazil since its inception in the late 19th century. There is actually a set of dances, rather than a single dance, that define the Samba dancing scene in Brazil; thus, no one dance can be claimed with certainty as the "original" Samba style.
2. Kizomba (Angola)
Kizomba is a mix of traditional Angolan semba with "zouk love" or "compas" music from the French Caribbean, sung generally in Portuguese and with a very sensual style. The accompanying dance was conceived in Angola as early as 1894. There is a considerable difference between Kizomba "the music" and Kizomba "the dance": Kizomba "the dance from Angola" has no zouk love influences. Kizomba "the music" has a romantic flow and zouk love influences from Guadeloupe and Martinique.
3. Bachata (Dominican Republic)
Bachata is danced widely all over the world but not identically. The basics to the dance are three-step with a Cuban hip motion, followed by a tap including a hip movement on the fourth beat. The knees should be slightly bent so the performer can sway the hips easier. Generally, most of the dancer's movement is in the lower body up to the hips, and the upper body moves much less. Unlike Salsa, Bachata does not usually include complex turn patterns but they are used more and more as the dance evolves.
4. Reggaeton (Puerto Rico)
Although strictly a music style, Reggaeton has spawned numerous recognisable dances, the most famous being the controversial "Perreo". Reggaeton has its roots in Latin and Caribbean music and its sound derives from the Reggae en Español from Panama. The genre was invented, shaped and made known in Puerto Rico where it got its name. Reggaeton blends Jamaican musical influences of dancehall, with those of Latin America, such as Salsa, Bomba, Latin Hip Hop, and Electronica.
5. Bhangra (India)
Bhangra refers to several types of Punjabi-style dance. The earliest developed of these was a folk dance conducted by Punjabis in the central northern areas of the region to celebrate the harvest. In the 1950s, a new folkloric dance, representative of the state of Punjab and composed of glimpses of men's Punjabi dance styles, was created and eventually received the title of "Bhangra". Today Bhangra music exists in different forms and styles worldwide and Birmingham is considered to be one of the music's major hubs.
6. Lambada Zouk (Brazil)
Also called Lambada-Zouk or Brazilian Zouk, Lambada Zouk is a group of closely related dance styles based on or evolved from the Lambada dance style and is typically danced to Zouk music or other music containing the Zouk beat. The two dominant styles of Zouk-Lambada are the Porto-Seguro style and the Rio-style. The word Lambazouk was originally used to refer to the dance style developed by Daniel and Leticia Estévez López, although they use the term M-zouk nowadays (for Mallorca-zouk) The Zouk-Lambada dancing styles are among the most popular non-ballroom dances for couples in Brazil.