Spain is home to many native dances, but the most famous is the Flamenco. This dance uses Flamenco music which possibly originated from the Andalusian Roma culture. Over time, the dance has evolved, moving through cultures in Northern India and Spain. This dance includes toe and heel tapping, with the woman performing very graceful and fluid hand and body movements. Sometimes, the dance also includes shouting, clapping, or finger clicking in time with the music.
A relatively new dance, the Viennese Waltz originated probably around the 18th century in Austria. Although exposing the ankles during this period was taboo, the dance survived because it was promoted by famous composers like Johann Strauss and Josef Lanner. The Waltz consists of music that has 180 beats per minute and is considered one of the oldest ballroom dance styles. Compared to the English Waltz, the Viennese Waltz is twice as fast.
One of the most famous dances, the Tango, originated in Argentina. This dance is believed to have originated on the streets of La Boca, a suburb within Buenos Aires. The dance is considered a ballroom-style dance and is usually performed between a man and a woman. The two dance in synchronized form and can perform to either fast or slow-paced music. The Tango is a traditionally romantic and seductive dance.
The classic belly dance called Raqs sharqi originated in Egypt in the Middle East. The Dom people are thought to have brought this dance to Egypt when they left Northern India in the 6th century. Traditionally, female dancers who perform the Raqs sharqi are called Ghawazi. Today, Western dance elements like Latin, ballet and ballroom dance have blended with the traditional belly dance style.
The national dance of Ukraine is the Hopak dance, which is sometimes called Cossack dancing. This dance originated in the 17th century and was used to celebrate military battles. Usually, the Hopak is performed to music played by bagpipes, fifes, violins, and cimbaloms. The dance is incredibly acrobatic and features several kicks and squats. Traditionally, this dance is performed by men, and as its popularity grew, female dancers eventually joined the men.
Increasingly popular, the Haka is a traditional dance of New Zealand that the Maori people have performed for centuries. The dance was used on the battlefield so soldiers and fighters could intimidate their opponents. The dancers keep time by chanting loudly, stomping their feet, and conducting unified hand movements. The trademark of this dance is the terrifying facial expressions geared at scaring the opponents. Today, this dance is used for ceremonies like birthdays, weddings, and life-changing events. Sometimes the Haka is used as a welcoming ceremony for distinguished guests.
Originally performed by the Celts, the Irish step dance is a popular dance that has evolved since its inception in the 12th century. Although there was plenty of local variation in the dance, the Gaelic League was formed in 1893 to standardize the movements. Today, Irish dancing has a set of standard rules from organized dance companies who perform intense Irish step dancing completions worldwide.