For a new twist on traveling, take your dancing skills on vacation. Dance tourism is a fun and heart-pounding category of cultural tourism. Dance traditions are found in every culture, and the options for dance tourism are just as varied. Whether through a dance vacation, festival, or performance, you can experience a culture or just have fun through dancing.
Many large tourism companies offer vacation packages that include dance lessons and guided tours of the city you are visiting so you can spend less time planning and more time on the dance floor. Or you can schedule a dance festival or performance into a vacation you’re planning yourself. Any way you do it, you’ll have more than just photos and a T-shirt to show friends when you get home.
Vacation packages with planned itineraries and professional guides are an easy way to vacation and learn how to dance. Companies like Dance Fun and Bryant Cruises offer dance cruises that provide dance lessons, dance parties, and trips to exotic places for one price.
Other companies sell tour packages that include everything from a hotel and meals to dance lessons and tours, excluding only airfare. Egypt Excursions offers an Egyptian vacation and a belly dance tour package (about $1288) for women.
Becka Tango Tours offers a similar package (up to $2800) for dancers and groups of all ages looking to learn and dance the tango. Becka Minas personally takes her clients to Buenos Aires, the home of tango, for these vacations. “I came up with this because of my love for tango,” she says. “It’s a beautiful way to connect with people . . . and people enjoy it.” Becka encourages people to take some basic classes before going on one of her vacations because, in her words, “if you don’t know the steps you don’t have as good a time.”
Dance festivals come in a plethora of forms, places, and prices, so you can easily find one to fit your vacation itinerary and budget. The Salsa Mambo Festival held at Doral Princess Resort in Palm Springs, California, requires tickets ($115) but offers dance workshops for all levels with professional dance instructors, dance shows, and dance parties. This festival occurs twice a year: the last weekend of July and New Year’s Eve.
A free festival (tickets still required) that focuses more on teaching the public about dance rather than how to dance is London’s Dance Umbrella dance festival every October. This year’s dates are the 8th and 9th. Dance Umbrella features performances of new dance.
To find out about other dance festivals, do an online search or contact the visitor center of the town you’re visiting for information on local festivals.
If being the dancer doesn’t appeal to you, you can still appreciate the art through dance performances. Like festivals, these are also easy to find online or through tourism sources. The visitor’s guide for the city you are visiting will list notable local performances, and many large cities are home to national dance companies that perform regularly. For example, the Moscow City Ballet and Russian National Ballet Theater will be spending the summer 2011 season in Moscow. Dance companies also go on tour to other cities, so be sure to check the city you’re vacationing in for upcoming performances. This summer, Riverdance, a dance company performing that very style, will be touring the United States and Canada. Dance performances are an easy way to add culture to your vacation, whether you travel outside the country or within it.
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More dancing opportunities can be found in good ol’ country dancing. Check out Dancing with daisies.
Festivals are a great way to experience a country (or a continent’s) culture. Here are some festivals happening in Africa