5 Travel-Inspired Dance Lessons
Dreaming of your next big trip but unable to travel right now? Prepare for your trip by learning these international dances online—dancing from home is the perfect way to up your skills while still seeding the wanderlust that will take you on your next adventures.
Dance can lift your spirits, get your heart pumping and teach you about other cultures. It can even inspire your travels. Here are five fun dance styles you can learn online from your home.
India has so enthusiastically embraced the dance moves performed in its Bollywood musical productions that Bollywood is its own dance style. For beginners, there’s no better place to start than Manpreet Toor’s YouTube channel. This Bollywood choreographer breaks the moves down step by step, hip shake by hip shake, often against a scenic Indian backdrop.
After mastering the basics, move on to choreographer Ria Rele’s channel, Bollywood Dance, for more advanced steps. Or, dive deeper into Toor’s channel to learn Bhangra, the Punjabi traditional dance form. Either way, when you get to India, you’ll be prepared for a spontaneous street dance.
The traditional dance of Mexico, folklorico styles vary depending on the area, but for comprehensive instruction, head to the Ballet Folklorico de Los Angeles YouTube channel. Instructor Kareli Montoya teaches everything from basic steps to specific dances like El Piayero and regularly updates content. To go even further in depth, her website, Kareli School of Folklorico, offers unlimited online lessons geared to kids, teens, and adults for a monthly fee.
Even if you don’t master folklorico, the videos will give you an appreciation for the art, so when you do travel to Mexico, you’ll understand the hard work that goes into the dancers’ performances. Once there, don’t forget to bring your cell phone for photos and sunscreen to protect against the Mexican sun, then store both in a waist pack to keep your hands free.
The Kennedy Center offers a variety of traditional dance lessons on its YouTube channel, including salsa, bachata, and merengue lessons, but the African dance lessons are by far its best. Dancer Rujeko Dumbutshena keeps things simple enough that anyone can pick up the Dinhe or other traditional dances. Search “five(ish) minute dance lessons” to see her offerings.
If you have kids at home and want to learn with them, Jay Sand teaches African dances, traditions, and more on his website All Around This World and on his YouTube channel. It’s also a good way to keep the kids entertained on a long flight to Africa for a family trip.
Named for a music style that incorporates elements of jazz and rock, salsa is one of the most popular styles of dance in Latin America. On YouTube, Passion4Dancing gives basic instruction for beginners and shares current content on topics like “3 Samba Mistakes” and “How to be Grounded in Latin Dancing.” The channel even has solo practice drills to truly take your online dance classes to the next level.
Once you have the moves down, you can fly to Latin America or the Caribbean to practice in the clubs where salsa originated, but you don’t have to pack your bags or travel far. Most large cities, including Miami and Las Vegas, have salsa dance clubs.
A lot of YouTube channels teach the basics of tango, the ballroom dance style that originated in Argentina, but unfortunately, many aren’t that great. If you can get past the dry commentary and solid-color background, thetangolessons channel has 10 videos to get you started.
For a more in-depth approach, you might want to purchase lessons from Tangomeet. The website has several instructors to choose from and teaches the philosophy behind each move as well as technique, so you’ll be more than ready to hit the dance floor in Buenos Aires.
Even though you might be inclined to lounge on the couch with a pillow, these dances will inspire you to move. And of course, there’s nothing to say you have to choose just one of these dances to learn. Give them all a try, then dive a little deeper into the culture. Who knows? You may discover a new destination you can’t wait to explore!
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By Teresa Bitler on March 23, 2020
Teresa Bitler is an award-winning travel writer specializing in adventure, culture, and history. Her work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler , American Way , Sherman’s Travel , and many other high-profile outlets. To learn more, visit teresatravelstheworld.com .