It’s no secret that there are countless unknown holidays that are celebrated around the world (Talk Like a Pirate Day, Margarita Day…you get the idea), but International Dance Day should be one that is on your radar every year. Founded over 30 years ago, the day’s message is one that transcends all barriers, “The intention of International Dance Day is to celebrate dance, to revel in the universality of this art form, to cross all political, cultural, and ethnic barriers and bring people together with a common language – Dance.” To celebrate in our own way we’re bringing you four cities to visit to experience this international language.
Flamenco: Sevilla or Córdoba, Spain
Flamenco holds a special place in my heart since I spent a year living in it’s birthplace – I also stumbled my way through numerous classes and a live performance. The complex, joyful, and often sensual dance originated in Andalusia, the southern region of Spain. Made up of cante (singing), toque (guitar playing), baile (dance), and palmas (claps), you may get lost in the performance itself. If you’re looking for a true experience, steer clear of the big clubs and instead find a hole-in-the-wall bar where you’ll find cheap nightly performances. In Sevilla, check out the Flamenco Dance Museum, and in Córdoba, don’t miss a performance at Tablao Flamenco Cardenal.
Tango: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Immerse yourself in the tango culture of Buenos Aires, where the dance art form originated, and go to a “tango house.” One of the oldest and most authentic is El Viejo Almacen, which holds a dinner and show combo ($140 per person). In June the whole city celebrates the anniversary of the death of Carlos Gardel (often referred to as The King of Tango) with tango demonstrations and displays across the city (don’t be surprised if you come across a sudden breakout of couples dancing in the streets at night). You can also visit Gardel’s former home, now a museum, for a tour.
Ballet: Paris, France
The birthday of French dancer and father of modern ballet, Jean-Georges Noverre, is commemorated every year with International Dance Day. He began dancing at a very young age and later on in his career moved to composing his own work. Nowadays, the Paris Opera Ballet, where Noverre introduce ballet d’action in 1776, is considered one of the best ballet companies in the world. Now, most ballets utilize this art form where the story is told through dance and pantomime. Book a performance with the company to get a taste of the amazing art.
Break Dance: New York City
Surprisingly, break dancing dates all the way back to the 1970s in New York City. Richard “Crazy Legs” Colon and Kenneth “Ken Swift” Gabbert, credited as b-boy pioneers, found inspiration for the dance from James Brown and many Kung-Fu films. Since the beginnings, the dance has spread across the world, but you can still find strong roots in the Big Apple – and you won’t have to try to hard to come across a performance. Board any subway (or walk through any large station like Union Square) and you’ll probably come close to tripping over a b-boy or girl. For a knock-your-socks off experience, take a trip out to 5 Pointz in Long Island City where you’ll witness some of the coolest gratti in the world along with heart-pounding break dancing performances.