South America is not only beautiful because its landscapes, warm people and delicious food: if somebody really want to be immersed into the continent’s culture, enjoying its unique musical rhythms is the faster and funnier way to do it. Enjoy local music and learn to dance in South America, it will definitely be an unforgettable experience!
Dances and music styles in the continent are as rich and diverse as the Spanish language itself. Each country has its traditional dance, and most of them share a taste and have their own versions of known popular styles as Cumbia, Salsa and famous Samba and Tango. South America Tours enlisted some of the best places to learn to dance in South America.
The Best Places to Learn To Dance in South America
Dance Style: Cumbia. Country of origin: Colombia
Cumbia dance is probably the most known dancing style in Colombia, Venezuela and Perú, but you’ll also find local versions in Latin American countries like Argentina or Uruguay. This rhythm is a mix of African and Spanish music which were born in the Atlantic coast of Colombia. It’s the representation of a courtship between a male and his partner bowing to her and holding a hat behind his back.
Where to dance cumbia in Colombia: almost every Colombian city has a “Zona Rosa” (“Pink District”), which is the main nightlife area where the dancing clubs, bars and restaurants are. In Medellin, for example, you’ll find lots of dance joints around Lleras Park. In Cali it´s “La Sexta” zone, and the best place to dance cumbia in Bogotá is the Zona Rosa, between 82th and 85th streets.
Dance Style: Samba. Country of origin: Brazil
Brazil is famous for its football-mania, and also for its samba and the famous Carnival, one of the best places to learn to dance in South America. The roots of this incredible dance style are undoubtedly African. It´s a very popular in the entire country and it’s a really fast and physically demanding dancing style. It can be dance as a solo dance (known as “ Samba no pé”), following the beat of the music and changing from an average pace to a very fast one, or the less known “Samba de Gafieira” which is a form of partner dance very popular among the urban night clubs in Rio de Janeiro.
Where to dance samba in Brazil: Without question, the best city to learn to dance samba is Rio de Janeiro. There are a lot of professional samba schools but also some of the best amateur samba classes are available, and they also offer Samba night tours through the city night clubs. If you want to live the ultimate samba experience, don’t hesitate visiting Rio during the world-famous Carnaval de Rio, which moves the entire country to the beat of samba for a week in February.
Dance Style: Salsa. Country of origin: USA (New York)
Probably the most internationally popular dance, Salsa music was originated in New York but the dance roots are fully Latin American, especially from Cuba, Puerto Rico and Colombia. Is a fusion between cha-cha-cha, Cuban son and mambo.
Where to dance and learn Salsa: Salsa can be learned and danced almost in every country of the continent, but Cali and Medellin has the most known Salsa clubs in South America.
Dance Style: Tango. Country of origin: Argentina
If the place to visit is Argentina or Uruguay, the dance to enjoy and learn will be definitely tango. Its origins are European and African, and the music is a fusion of several European music styles. In the 20th, tango bands traveled across Europe starting a true tango-mania which took place on Paris and quickly extended to London and Berlin. Tango is perceived as a very passionate rhythm to dance and listen, and it’s performed both in night clubs but also in restaurants and in the streets as a public show for tourists in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Where to dance tango in Argentina: Buenos Aires has a large number of dancing schools and night clubs, as well as private classes are offered. You’ll find lots of tango lesson ads in your hostel or hotel, or you can just perform a quick search in Buenos Aires’ Craigslist site.
Music and dancing are deeply into the culture and lifestyle of Latin-American people. That’s why it’s such a pleasure to learn to dance in South America, truly an amazing experience you won’t forget in your South America tours.