4 mins

8 amazing dance moves from around the world

Heading out to shake your booty this weekend? You might want to add one of these international dance moves to your repertoire... Or maybe not.

Balinese Kecak dance at Ubud (Shutterstock.com. Main credit below)

1. Kekak trance dance, Bali

Originally a trance ritual, this dance was adapted in the 1930s to depict a battle from the Ramayana (a Sanskrit poem). It is performed in a circle by at least 150 performers wearing checked clothes around their waists and chanting ‘cak’. It often culminates in some of the performers walking on fires. More information

2. Sufi whirling, Turkey

A form of physically active meditation, Sufi whirling (or spinning) is performed during worship ceremonies by Sufi dervishes of the Mevlevi order. It is believed that the spinning banishes all ego and personal desire and helps the dancer to reach the source of all perfection.

The spinning is also said to imitate the paths of the planets orbiting the sun. More information

3. Hopping procession, Luxembourg

Held every Whit Tuesday in the eastern village of Echternach, Europe’s largest traditional dancing procession sees up to 14,000 people hopping through the streets waving handkerchiefs.  

Documented since 1100, the event is held to venerate of a local saint, St Willibrord, and was recently added to UNESCO’s List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. More information

4. Schuhplattler, Bavaria, Germany

Schuhplattler is a traditional German folk dance popular in Bavaria and Tyrol. Performers stomp, clap and slap the soles of their shoes, thighs and knees with their hands. Lederhosen and dirndls are a must.

Dating from Neolithic times, and first written about in 1030 AD, the dance has become quite regimented and stylised. In the early days, the stomps, leaps and acrobatics were more improvised and freestyle, with participants performing any way that struck their fancy. More information

5. Hopak, Ukraine

Also known as Cossack dancing, the Hopak is regarded as the national dance of the Ukraine. Originally performed by Cossacks after they returned victorious from battle, it is now performed by professional dance ensembles.

Largely improvisational, the original dancers busted acrobatic moves that reflected their manliness, heroism, speed and strength. Or re-enacted highlights of the battle they had just returned from. More information

6. Morris dancing, England

Morris Dancing is an English folk dance that involves rhythmic stepping, clashes of sticks and an inordinate amount of handkerchief waving. 

There are six predominant styles, named after the regions they originate; Border Morris is looser and more vigorous, while North West Morris is more military in style. Cotswold Morris involves the most handkerchief waving. More information

7. Tinikling, Philippines

This pre-Spanish dance from the Philippines involves two people tapping, beating and sliding bamboo poles on the ground while dancers step over and in between the poles. Usually performed to rondella music, it was named after the local tikling birds and mimics the birds as they walk between bamboo traps set by rice farmers. More information

8. Peruvian Scissor Dancing

Scissor-dancing in the Chanka region dates from the 16th century, and features performers brandishing oversized scissors which they snip and twirl in the air to the tune of traditional music. It is a particularly frenetic dance and the dancers are supposedly possessed by deities.

It was first performed to express resistance to Spanish conquest, and like the Luxembourg Hopping Procession has been placed on UNESCO’s List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. More information

Main image:  Balinese Kecak dance at Ubud (Shutterstock.com)

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