Folk dances from different parts of the world are so popular that many international festivals are currently being organized to learn about them. In this article, we give you the names and information of a part of these dances, which are ordered by continents.

Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.

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Typical dances of the world: traditional dances by countries

North America

Starting with the recently emerged dances, United States is the cradle of break dance. This urban dance originated in New York in the 70s, specifically in the neighborhoods of the Bronx and Brooklyn. They are part of the hip hop culture.

To dance it it is necessary to have flexibility, strength and an important control over the body, since movements of great difficulty are performed. It has influences from African dances, salsa and mambo. One of the best groups of break dance of the world is jabbawockeez, winner of a famous television contest.

Hip hop also emerged popping or robot dance, another street style characterized by precise movements and tension. It is accompanied by electronic music or dubstep. Some modern shows combine this style with luminous costumes.

On the other hand, several indigenous tribes of the country, like the Cherokee, had a ritual called «rain dance«. The inhabitants donned feathers and masks, and danced in circles to attract precipitation. It was believed that with these came the ancestors, who fought against evil spirits. Therefore, it is considered a religious dance.

Some traditional songs from the USA are usually accompanied by a choreography, such as Good old days, popular in the 20s, and Jingle Bells. The latter, originally, had nothing to do with Christmas, but with horse racing. In the following video you can listen to the song:

Another typical dance of this country is the country, which is popular especially in rural regions. An example is the song Oh susana, which is part of the line dancing and, therefore, it is group.

Latin America and the caribbean

Folkloric dances abound in this area. In the case of Peru, Marinera It is their national dance. It is danced in pairs and elegantly represents the miscegenation between Spanish, black and indigenous cultures. In January, a relevant international competition is held in the city of Trujillo.

The sauce is originally from the Caribbean, more specifically from Cuba y Puerto Rico. It is a fusion between European music and Afro-Caribbean rhythms. You can dance individually or as a couple. Today it is widespread throughout the rest of the world, especially in the United States and South America.

En Argentina is typical the Carnavalito. Its history predates the colonization of the continent. It is danced in a group of pairs, which jump and form different shapes such as the wheel or the row. It is also practiced in Bolivia.

However, the most representative dance in Argentina is tango, although it is also native to Uruguay. It does not derive from any particular style, but is influenced by various currents. It emerged at the end of the XNUMXth century among the popular and marginal classes. His choreography is energetic and seductive.

En Mexico highlights the Butternut squash, which the Baja California cowboys developed during the XNUMXs. Participants hit the ground and kick, thus mimicking the movements of farm animals.

Bachata comes from Dominican Republic. It started as marginal music in the 60s and, although it was initially a type of bolero, little by little it became different. It is from the 80s when it became popular and spread to other countries such as Ecuador.

The national dance of Brazil it's samba. It is practiced during important holidays, such as carnival. It has its origin in Africa, since it was introduced by slaves in the XNUMXth century. It is characterized by sensual movements.

En Colombia we found cumbia, which started in the Caribbean Region. It is a mix between indigenous, African and Hispanic culture. Its name comes from the African word cumbe, which means "celebration." It represents the courtship of the man to the woman.

The last dance to become popular has been the reggaeton or reggaeton. It is formed in Panama y Puerto Rico at the end of the XNUMXth century thanks to the Jamaican community. It has changed over time. Before I took reggae music and made a social complaint. Currently, it is influenced by hip hop and the central theme is sex. To this day, it has international fame.


China it is a country that had a large number of ethnic minorities. However, there are two popular dances throughout its territory, which are performed in the Chinese New Year celebrations.

One of them is the Lion dance. Two dancers are introduced into a lion costume and perform agile and acrobatic movements. This animal is believed to attract fortune. The other is the Dragon dance, in which twelve interpreters hold the dragon costume and make it go up and down.

As we can see in the photo, the dragon costume is colorful and of impressive dimensions:

The Hebrew culture has various dances, which are practiced in Israel. One of them is Samoth, a group dance. Participants shake hands and form a circle. You also hit the ground with your feet and kick yourself.

Two other choreographies are Zimer atic y The wise and the mad, which is based on a biblical passage. These Jewish dances are ideal for teaching primary school children as they encourage group work and introduce other cultures.

At Arab world highlights the belly dance, whose official name is Oriental dance. It is played by women. It originated in Egypt a thousand years ago. It is characterized by the movement of the hips. In its origin, it was a cult of fertility, both of the human being and of the earth.

En Japan find the Nihon buyou, a combination of dance and pantomime. Its only function is to entertain, so it is practiced on stage. It is interpreted by the geishas, girls formed to entertain parties and meetings.

Hindu culture is made up of eight traditional dances. One of them is the bharatantyam, which was created south of the India. It is danced alone and has great technical difficulty.

In the following video you can see a Hindu woman performing this beautiful dance:

Another is the cathak, belonging to the north of the country. With them, stories are told through the movement of the dancer, who makes quick turns. It has certain influences from the Mongol Empire. You can know other dances of India in this article: Folkloric and exotic dances of India.


Throughout the centuries, African tribes they have been developing their own culture and dances. These are usually related to the phases of life and nature, such as the passage from youth to maturity or the seasons of the year.

En South Africa we found a modern choreography, called gum boot o isicathlo. The men wear wellies and bang them against the ground. It derives from the time of apartheid, in which workers were prohibited from talking in the mines, so they communicated through sounds made with these shoes.

The dance of the hunters is represented in Ivory Coast. Two dancers are dressed as hunters, while another wears an antelope costume. They recreate the hunting of this one, so it is a zoomorphic dance. At the same time, drums sound, which begin to play softly and increase in intensity.

The Maasai, who live in Kenya y Tanzania, are characterized by their well-known dance. The men are making incredibly large leaps, while the rest sing. The higher they jump, it means they are in better physical condition. It is a ritual to impress women and for them to choose who to marry.

In the following images we can see the Maasai men performing this ritual:

En Ghana, the tribe krobos represents dance klama in a ritual called Dipo, for which the young women prepare for a season. Wearing colorful clothing and necklaces, the girls advance by taking small steps and with their heads down, while performing movements with their hands and feet.


En Romania we found the dance called alunelul, a word that means "little hazelnut." To represent it, the participants form rows and small circles. It is easy to represent since, in general, it consists of taking three steps to the left and three to the right.

La Dance of Ramón belongs to Belgium. Two lines are formed: one of women, who put their arms in the shape of a jug. The other, of men, who cling to the shoulders. Both parties hit the ground with their feet.

En France we find numerous dances. One of them is The Badoise, which is interpreted in pairs, who beat each other on the thighs and clap their hands. Another is the call Dance of the Shepherds.

Flamenco is one of the most famous dances in the Hispanic world. It was developed in Spain, more specifically in Andalusia, Extremadura and Murcia. It is usually attributed to the gypsy ethnic group, although it seems that its origin is Moorish.

The Candil It is also a dance from this country, highlighted above all in Badajoz, Extremadura. It is represented mainly by young people and has influences from Portugal. If you want to know the rest, we recommend the following article: Typical dances of Spain: discover their regional dances.

En Greece we found the old dance Stous pear Kambous pear, which means "In the far plains." The participants form a circle shaking hands. Also, the sirtaki came out of a 1964 movie called Zorba the Greek. This choreography takes movements from hasapiko, a traditional Greek dance.

The Ceili dance of Ireland It is performed in a group and is accompanied by regional instruments such as the Irish drum or the violin. The dancers go on tiptoe and sometimes one of them dictates the steps.

La tarantella It is a dance of Neapolitan origin typical of Italy. Its origin comes from the Middle Ages, and means "tarantula." The peasants thought that when one of these insects bit them, they must dance or they would die. Nowadays, it is common to represent her even at weddings.

En Denmark find The seven jumps, choreography that is carried out in a circle, jumping to the left and right. It is usually taught in Danish schools.

De Russia highlights the troika, a word that in Spanish translates as "team of three." The dancers are a man and two women, and they imitate the horses that pull the carriages.

El jopak belongs to the folklore of Ukraine. It comes from the term jopati, which is "jumping." In this activity, carried out by men, jumps and acrobatics are performed. It has influences from the training of the Cossacks, a kind of military from the Middle Ages.

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