Pack Your Dancing Shoes and Get Into the Local Groove
Having the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture is one of the most eye-opening and rewarding aspects of travel. In fact, nearly half of travellers (47%) indicate that exploring a different culture is an important factor when choosing their holiday destination*. So if you really want to tap into the authentic pulse of a country, dancing along with the locals is one of the best ways to experience the true heart and soul of a destination. From passionate flamenco in Spain to the elegant ballet moves of Russia, push yourself to go outside of your comfort zone and pick up some new steps. Putting on point shoes is, of course, optional.
Samba, a lively and rhythmical dance originating from Brazil, is most popular in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Salvador. If you visit one of the famous carnival celebrations in Brazil, you’ll be surrounded by Samba dancers as far as the eye can see. If you want to be perfectly in synch, you can take a lesson and learn a few steps at one of the many dance schools around the country.
Where to stay: Rio Panoramic has incredible views of the city and is a short drive away from the beach. Sugarloaf Mountain, the Samba Museum and the Aquarium are all nearby, with a variety of local restaurants just steps away from this charming B&B.
When it comes to a classical dance form like ballet, it takes years of hardwork and discipline to develop the perfect technique. While not everyone has what it takes to become a prima ballerina, Russians are passionate about ballet and are reknowned worldwide for producing some of the best dancers in the world. To marvel at those magnificent leaps and precision pirouettes in person, take in a performance at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, the Bolshoi Ballet and Opera Theatre or the Russian National Ballet Theatre. While you won't be able to hop on stage and dance along, the experience might inspire you to take a lesson or two back home, where chances are you'll be taught the famous Russian Vaganova technique, used widely across Europe and North America.
Where to stay: The St. Regis Moscow Nikolskaya offers elegant suites and world-class service, very fitting when seeing the magnificent Royal Ballet. Wake up to a delicious breakfast served in the A Tavola Restaurant or enjoy a drink at the Orlov Bar. The hotel is also ideally located just a short drive from the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall.
Flamenco dancing is hundreds of years old and is still performed today in its home country of Spain, as well as being popular in the US and Japan. Playing host to one of the biggest flamenco festivals, Seville showcases some of the best flamenco dancers and musicians in the world.
Where to stay: Situated in the heart of historic Seville, the charming La Casa del Maestro Boutique was originally home to the famous flamenco guitar master, Nino Ricardo. The eleven rooms that are built around the central courtyard are all decorated using his songs as inspirtation. You can enjoy your breakfast on the sunny patio terrace before strolling through the historic city centre to check out a lively flamenco show.
The waltz originated in Germany during the 16th century and is now a classic staple of traditional ballroom dancing. The waltz has its roots as a form of folk dance and is expressed in different styles, such as the German or Viennese Waltz. While there aren’t many grand events where the waltz is still performed like it once was, there are more and more dance classes popping up where traditional ballroom dances, like the waltz get reinvented together with modern beats and steps.
Where to stay: If you want to practice your waltzing skills, a trip to beautiful Vienna is just the thing, especially with a stay at the opulent The Ritz-Carlton. Combining historic charm with modern luxuries, The Ritz Carlton offers guests the option to experience a traditional grand ball in true Viennese style. Prep and pamper yourself before the evening festivities with a visit to the hotel's on-site spa before sampling a clasic cocktail at the Atmosphere Rooftop Bar.
Hula is the national dance of Hawai'i and is steeped in ancient tradition. Native Hawai'ians still dance the Hula as a way of preserving and celebrating their unique history, mythology and culture. While most Hawai'ian hula dances are performed by women today, traditionally men were just as likely to perform the hula. Hula dancing is accompanied by chant (Oli) or by song (Mele) where the words are portrayed in a dance form. The dancers wear colourful tops, grass skirts and a traditional lei around their neck, usually performing barefoot on the beach.
Where to stay: The Aston Maui KaanapaliVillas is situated on acres of tropical gardens right on the beach. You can go for a refreshing dip in one of the two outdoor pools or cool off with a fruity cocktail at the poolside Castaway bar. After you work up an appetite enjoying one of the many available outdoor activities on the beach, you can tuck in to some delicious island cuisine.
Noh Mai, Japan
There are many traditional dances in Japan, but one of the oldest is Noh Mai which can be traced back to the 13th century. This comprehensive art form is danced accompanied by flutes and small hand drums and is often choreographed to tell a story, with traditional Japanese fables playing an important role. For travellers looking to experience Noh, take a trip to Tokyo where you will find a selection of venues with a built-in Noh stage, like the National Noh Theatre, the Kanze Noh Theatre and the Cerulean Tower Noh Theatre.
Where to stay: To experience the ancient Japanese dance of Noh Mai, stay at a traditional Ryokan such as the HOSHINOYA Tokyo. You can enjoy a relaxing dip in one of their hot spring baths, one indoor and one outdoor, connected via a tunnel so you don't have to step out of the soothing water to enjoy a bit of fresh air. HOSHINOYA Tokyo is ideally located with the Noh Mai theatres all just a short drive away.
* Based on the amount of people who rated the factor “a different culture” at least 8 out of 10 when deciding on their next travel destination, with 10 being extremely important and 1 not important at all. Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of adults who have taken a trip in the last 12 months/plan to take a trip in the next 12 months. In total 56,727 respondents were surveyed (2000+ from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Germany, Spain, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Malaysia, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and the US, and 1000+ each from Denmark, Croatia, Sweden, and New Zealand). Respondents completed an online survey in October 2017.