Dance Your Heart Out: Six Dances From Around the World

While in the throes of travel, you may find yourself bouncing from nightclub to nightclub (or, hilariously known as Discotheques in several other countries). If you’re like me and your signature dance moves usually include a few booty pops, a couple of seconds of running man, and a cabbage patch here and there, you may need to mix it up a bit. One thing that is unique about every culture (except for Southern Baptists) are their dances. Whether you are in a young, swanky bar, at a wedding, or at a senior citizens’ home, you will most likely find variations on these dances. And perhaps with a little practice, you can put away your moonwalk, and tear it up!

Gangnam Style-South Korea
One of the newest dance crazes, created by a South Korean pop-artist known as PSY, inspires one to essentially ride the pony. Gangnam Style refers to a hip and trendy neighborhood in Seoul and is used to poke fun at the snobby lifestyle associated with the region. However, since the video went viral during the summer of 2012, riding Gangnam style is no longer for the Korean bourgeois. As long as you have two fists and can do a basic gallop, you can dance–Gangnam style that is…

Tango-Argentina/Uruguay
Originating from the lower classes of Argentina, the Tango quickly spread to Europe and is now so common that there is a new form of Pilates (Tango-Pilates) sweeping the nation. The Tango has been around for hundreds of years and is still a thriving part of South American culture. Tango’s original form is sensual and gritty. But if you add a little glitter and a washed up boy band member, and you’ll get something along the lines of Dancing With the Stars.

Belly dance-Middle/Near East
One dance that encourages women (and men) to put a little meat on their bones is belly dancing (that’s a stipulation I can get behind). Belly dancing is popular throughout the Middle/Near East and North Africa. Despite consisting of scantily clad women and undulating dance moves, belly dancing is all about the tease. Belly dancers are common in restaurants throughout the region but are also popular additions to wedding receptions. So don’t be afraid to strap on some beads and sequins and start channeling your inner Shakira.

Reggaeton-Caribbean/Puerto Rico
Fortunately for normal-sized American women, Reggaeton embraces the booty. In fact, much like belly dancing, if you don’t have some curves to work with, you might as well give up now. Originally from Puerto Rico, Reggaeton is a catchy mix of Caribbean and Latin music. Rihanna has made Reggaeton popular in the United States, however, people have been bouncing to Reggaeton since well before the pop diva was born. The one rule of Reggaeton: shake what your momma gave you.

Line dance-American South
If you ever learned the electric slide at some middle school dance then you’ve already learned most of what you need to know to line dance. While there are some variations on the steps, all line dancing stems from a very simple formula: step a few times, turn around, clap every once and awhile, and if all else fails just stomp your cowboy boots and let out a few “yeehaws!”

Bollywood-India
The word Bollywood is an all encompassing term that describes the Hindi film industry. While Bollywood has become synonymous with elaborate musicals, shoddy plot lines, and movies that last well over three hours, one of the most important aspects of a Bollywood film is the wicked dance moves. The dance are traditional folk style, however, with modern beats and wild colors, Bollywood dancing has quickly become it’s own genre.

By Caroline Kellough

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