Dance is an art form where people perform a series of movements with or without intention. These movements are loaded with an aesthetic or symbolic value valued or admired by both the dancers and spectators. That can be free form, or it can have a choreography or steps already established. Therefore the types of dance are usually very varied depending on what part of the world you are in. The dance can have different functions such as entertainment, be part of a rite or ceremony, be part of a competition or have an erotic purpose. Let’s check them out!
#1. Zaouli Mask Dance, Manfla (Ivory Coast)
The sound of the flutes and drums begins…and a man in a mask jumps in front of the audience, with a great noise of feet. And under the shaking raffia and colorful mask, a man of the Guro ethnic group from Manila, a town in the Ivory Coast. Each village in the Guro community has its own dancer who performs at celebrations and funerals to promote productivity, togetherness, and peace.
#2. Adumu, Kenya, and Tanzania
How high can you jump? For the men of the Maasai tribe, adumu (“the dance of the jump”) is part of a ceremony of the passage from childhood to adulthood. They will be considered stronger (and attractive) the higher they jump. The men form a semicircle and jump as high as possible without touching their heels on the ground while being encouraged by their companions’ cheers. Although ferocity is vital in this semi-nomadic life of herding and hunting lions, it is essential to dance the adumu with elegance, accentuated by her red clothing and beaded necklaces.
#3. Ote’a, Tahiti (French Polynesia)
Ote’a, the traditional dance of Tahiti characterized by strong hip movements to the rhythm of percussion, tells daily life stories through the dancers’ hands with their hips always in motion. It is a technique that is impressive to see, especially when the dancers keep their hips moving while performing a choreography that makes them change position. If you’d love to try it, ask a Polynesian for help. You may be lucky and can wear a vegetable fiber or flower skirt, as well as fringes and pretty headdresses. Move as smooth as a palm tree and let yourself be carried away by the music.
#4. Mosh, Washington (United States)
Stick your elbows out, lower your head, and get ready for the mosh! Don’t panic! The mosh does not give as much as it seems. You don’t need to develop a technique, as it basically consists of shoving in the center of a concert crowd, letting your body follow its own impulses when listening to punk, metal, or rock. They say the term originated in Washington in the late eighties during the hardcore group SCREAM’s song Total mash, encouraging people to mash each other and dance violently. From mash to mosh, this dance has inspired the creation of “mosh pits” because the mosh crowd created a circle near the stage at concerts in Southern California, where hardcore was at its best. Here anything goes, so try it and let yourself go. If you don’t like the idea of getting elbowed in the ribs or punched in the nose, try crossing from one side of the mosh pit to the other. In any case, you are not guaranteed to come home unscratched.
#5. Viennese Waltz, Vienna (Austria)
The Viennese waltz is reminiscent of Johan Strauss’s music, a Viennese composer of more than 500 waltzes with its characteristic 6/8 or 3/4 measures. It’s often considered a competitive ballroom dance and knowing how to dance comes in handy for wowing guests at a formal celebration. It is an elegant dance, and it gives the feeling that the couple dancing is light and moves around the room, almost floating. It was not always considered a high society dance. There is evidence in publications from 1774 showing that the Viennese waltz was danced in rural parts of Germany. Today you can show your dancing skills in one of the many venues in Vienna, the city that made the waltz famous.
Do you need more inspiration? Take a look at the first part of this article!