Tango… the art of a whole country
Born at the end of the 19th century, tango first appeared in the popular neighbourhoods of Buenos Aires in Argentina and Montevideo in Uruguay. It grew up to be quite fashionable, the artistic result of a migratory flow populating the Río de la Plata (the estuary created by Uruguay and Paraná rivers). It later spread all around the world. Easily recognizable, tango is danced to pace of a bandoneon, instrument originated from Germany.
At once sensual and languishing, it expresses the melancholy of a soul in torment, as well as the pain of European expatriates who came alone to this new continent and cultivated the memory of their past. Argentinean composer Enrique Santos Discépolo describes it as a “sad, dancing thought”.
Later on, famous composers like Astor Piazzolla have made it even more famous. So much so that it was inscribed as UNESCO intangible heritage. Whether you're a newcomer or professional dancer, you can head to La Viruta, a traditional dancing room generally called milonga, where you can perfect the art of tango!
Around Athens with sirtaki
Success sometimes comes in mysterious ways. In 1964, Jean Vassilis created a dance composed of movements paced over three different beats. Called sirtaki and originally far from a traditional dance, it is performed in an open circle or a straight line, everyone resting their hands on the shoulders of their neighbours. But then, Zorba the Greek was released to great acclaim in 1965 after being selected at the Cannes Film Festival.
The soundtrack to that masterful work left a lasting impression, not only in Athens but all around Greece. Composed by Mikis Theodorakis, it became increasingly popular and put the sirtaki in the spotlight on a global level. Surfing the nostalgia vibe, a group of young Greeks has launched the tourism-oriented Greeking.me website, offering several sirtaki initiations. In so doing, they hope to bring the country back to an international level as far as the tourism industry goes. Among the many activities available to discover Greece's history, favour the “Hellenic nights”, consisting in sirtaki lessons accompanied with a few dishes and good wine!
Zorba Inside Me
+30 694 2070899
Let salsa win you over in Havana
Whatever your origins, you'll understand salsa, for Cuban fever knows no boundaries. Take up salsa lessons in Cuba's Salsabor dance school! Located in the heart of Havana, it is a mere stone's throw away from Parque Central and Habana Vieja, the historic district. Whether alone or with a group, you'll discover the charm of this caliente dance, born in the Caribbean. Warm up to the sound of bongos, piano, brass and accompanying singers. Once ready, you simply have to choose a partner and let the rhythm carry you. Guided by an extraordinary team of teachers and competent dancers, you'll enjoy an incredible atmosphere only Cuban have the knack for. If you plan on staying a few days, the “Sol y Sombra” Casa Particular B&B, located in the same building, can be your home for the duration of your stay.
Salsabor a Cuba
Neptuno no. 558, entre Escobar y Lealtad
Samba, amid Brazilian euphoria
Considered as a national dance in Brazil, samba was born in the early 20th century, in Rio de Janeiro's favelas. It originates from a joyous mix of Portuguese and African influences. The 2/4 time signature is carried by various percussive instruments but also guitar and cavaquinho, a Portuguese instrument with four gut strings. Since then, it has become the star of Rio's carnival and other traditional holidays celebrated all over the country. During those events, custom has it dancers wear incredible costumes that usually hinder the body but free the feet. Samba is a solo or partner dance, but the most popular version remains the “samba no pé”, which could be translated as “samba under the skin” and amounts to solo performances during carnivals. Let's head to the Caminhos Language Centre school, in the trendy Ipanema district. There, you'll learn how to sway your hips to the swinging rhythms of Brazil's most emblematic music.
Caminhos Language Centre
Farme de Amoedo, 135 - Ipanema
Rio de Janeiro
Learn about waltz in sumptuous Vienna
Discover the unique universe of waltzing and immerse yourself in a 200-year-old Viennese tradition. This famous Austrian dance will inevitably convey tributes to composer Johann Strauss. Pick a waltz that suits you, in either 3/4 or 6/8 time signatures. Waltz has been listed as a ballroom dance. It is therefore possible to witness great performances in a festive atmosphere with friends. For an exceptional experience, take one step further and treat yourself to a ball inside the Hofburg, the Habsburg dynasty's famous palace. You'll be able to partake in one of the lessons organised by the Private Dance Academy by Waltz in Vienna, and be initiated to this whirling dance. Wearing period clothes in a period setting, this moment on the traces of the great composers of the 19th century will feel magical.
Private Dance Academy by Waltz in Vienna
+43 (0)1 212 264 7800