Dancing in South America

From samba to tango, South America is the birthplace of so many revered dances, making it an evocative place to catch a show like no other.

Rhythm runs through the veins of South America, with a myriad of dances being powerful artistic expressions of the continent’s culture and identity. There is nothing quite like watching a live dance show in South America and, if you feel inspired, there is no shortage of dance classes to get involved with too. Head to Rio de Janeiro to enjoy a riot of music, colour and spectacular dance moves at one of the many shows that can be caught across the city, or how about going for some tuition in Cartagena on the Colombian coast? With countless options you will be spoilt for choice!

Ballroom dancing has seen an increase in popularity in recent years and catapulted many Latin American dances into the public consciousness, though South America is still the best place in the world to experience an authentic taste of these mesmerising moves. Trace the origins of the tango and make your way to Montevideo, one of the dance’s birthplaces (along with Buenos Aires, of course). Spend some time at the Museo del Tango and learn about the city’s role in the development of this intense dance, more often than not associated with neighbouring Argentina. Follow it up with an evening of fine food and a superb show at a fine-dining restaurant located in Old Town. Or, for a truly interactive experience, while in Buenos Aires make your way to one of the original dance halls, such as Complejo Tango, for a lesson and exquisite dinner before being treated to a performance by the professionals.

There are plenty more dances to leave you feeling mesmerised in South America. For example, while the iconic samba may be Brazil’s most famous dance, the country is responsible for a number of others including the bossa nova and lambada. If you are in the northeast of the country then look out for the forro, a dance that can be enjoyed at a much slower pace than some of its feistier counterparts.

However, dancing is certainly not confined to the vibrant streets of South America’s larger cities. During a trip to the Andes you may be lucky enough to witness a Huayno, a dance steeped in tradition, or, if you are heading to the south of Peru, look out for the Supaypa Wasin Tusuq; a dance with scissors that is particularly celebrated in Huancavelica at the end of each year. No matter where you travel in South America, it will only be a matter of time before you find some toe-tapping beats that will get you dancing like a local in no time.

Dancing in South America Highlights:
  • Practise the Argentine Tango in Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Learn about La Cumparsita in Montevideo, Uruguay
  • Master the samba in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Do the salsa in Cali, Colombia
  • Dance the night away in Quito, Ecuador
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