Cultural Experience | Resources

Best Study Abroad Destinations for Gals Who Love to Dance!

Learning the local dance will put you closer in touch with your new study abroad home.

By Emma Cramer.

study-dance-abroad

Whether your style is ballet, jazz, hip-hop, or the Cha-Cha-Slide, dancers of all genres can broaden their horizons by studying abroad! Learning the local dance will have a whole slew of benefits: you will engage with locals, meet fellow dance-loving women, experience the country’s culture intimately, challenge yourself, and grow in a new style of dance. And that long list doesn’t even mention all the fun you’ll have. Here are the top 5 places to study abroad for those of you who love to boogie with your bad selves:

1. Argentina: To meet the Argentinean of your dreams, try perfecting your tango moves! This sensual partner dance is a staple in Argentine culture.  In fact, the country is known for impromptu street performances, where dancers and live bands put on a show for everyone around. Though the dance originated in poor immigrant circles, it now optimizes grace and class. Understanding the volatile history of the tango will only help you better discern life in your new country.

2. India: As the “Brangelina”-equivalent of Bombay (now Mumbai) and Hollywood, Bollywood dance is a traditional Indian dance known for unique hand movements and some really fabulously colorful costumes! There’s also usually a storyline behind the dances, and the dancers are generally celebrities in their own right.  Hey, after a semester of studying in India, you might be the next superstar! So start packing your most beautiful saris, lace up your dancing shoes and get exploring.

3. Caribbean: If you’re into hip-hop or jazz, then you should definitely head to the Caribbean to study those styles’ most prestigious ancestor — salsa! This dance definitely brings the heat;  it includes improvisations, spins, quick rhythms, and a whole ‘lotta attitude. And once you’re time studying abroad is over, there are plenty of salsa clubs all over the world where you can keep practicing those steps.

4. Ireland: For dancers with quick feet, Irish step dancing could be your new favorite style!  These Irish dancers have a controlled upper body but quick and sharp leg movements. Rumor has it that this contained movement became popular because performance areas used to be so tiny. In fact, people sometimes danced on top of barrels for space (were they filled with Guinness?). Studying abroad in Ireland isn’t just for the lucky. Even after the jig’s up, there is plenty of beautiful natural greenery to discover.

5. Turkey: If your hips don’t lie, why not try belly dancing in Turkey? This festive dance is an integral part of Middle Eastern culture–men and women of all ages test out their moves at celebrations and social gatherings! The signature moves are shimmies and vibrations, and the movement switches between fluid and percussive. Buy yourself a sparkly new set of finger cymbals, and head to Turkey already.

Taking a dance class if you aren’t fluent in the language might be a bit of an obstacle at first, but persevere!  You’ll quickly learn to pick up the movements by sight and mimic, and you’ll be fluent in both tongue AND dance in no time. You can take classes at local dance studios, check whether your host institution offers dance courses, search the class catalog at local gyms, recreation centers, and cultural centers, or ask a local! Regardless of how you find it, learning the local dance will put you closer in touch with your new home. It will help you better understand and relate to both the culture and the people, since as you know, dance can be a window into the soul!

Additional Resources:

10 Most Famous Dance Styles in the World

Best Colleges and Universities for Dance Majors

photo credit

Emma Cramer

University of California, Berkeley | 1 story

I am about to graduate from UC Berkeley with a major in Cognitive Science and right now, I am the study abroad intern at www.GoOverseas.com -- a website that helps future travelers make educated decisions when choosing between programs abroad.


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