South America is globally renowned for its rich culture, and dance is an essential part of life through the entire continent. There are nicely developed and highly diversified dancing traditions being practiced in both Peru and Brazil, and these can be experienced to the core by touring the respective countries.
Peru’s Dance Culture
Marinera is a sophisticated dance form that avid dance lovers will enjoy and it also is the national dance of Peru although not as popular as the tango. Marinera is a highly diversified dance form and there are 3 separate and characterized variations namely Marinera Serrana, Marinera Limena and Marinera Nortena . The Nortena version is the one that has caught everybody’s attention nowadays. There are some places that teach the dance in Lima as well as a few dining places and cultural associations where you can at least observe the dance. If this is something which you really want to take part in, you should plan on going to the country in the month of January so that you can head north of Lima to Trujillo to see the annual national contest.
Even though Peru has a national dance in the form of marinera there are several places where one can learn salsa within a short time. The good thing is, you don’t even need to pay for lessons. While you are in Cusco, for example, you’ll find that most of the clubs close to the main square Plaza de Armas offer free salsa lessons early in the night, normally from around 9:30 to 11:30. Do not get worried even if you know quite a bit about dancing since the dance trainers are true experts who love to show the best steps and delicate dancing styles to those who have got some kind of dancing experience. Because of the popularity of the dance here, you can also find salsa bands performing at a number of locations. If you are at Muse, you can easily find a high-quality Cuban salsa band which plays during late evenings and nights of Friday and Saturday.
Brazil’s dancing opportunities
Amidst a number of options, Samba is a type of dance that is extremely popular in South America. The place to do this is Brazil, in Rio de Janeiro. Even though origin is from Africa, as it developed there, it has adopted its own distinct style in Brazil, becoming popular on the streets during Carnaval. The style of samba as practiced here is distinct and if you are familiar with the traditional samba dance steps, variations can be easily figured out.
There are many classes available to tourists or, for those more ambitious, they can go to a local school to take part in the evening lessons. These are usually located outside of town and not necessarily the safest places for out of towners so be sure you do not go on your own. You will take note of the fact that learning Portuguese and samba courses are offered as a combined package.
Local academies are focused on practicing for Carnaval and do so on different nights and this will make a difference in terms of where you can go and when. There are also some schools which will offer training courses on how the samba instruments are played. Academies of samba dance are nothing but groups where natives make their preparations for the upcoming carnival events and samba nights are essential parts of these schools in which all are invited.
The Samba dance clubs, referred to as Gafieiras are mainly located in the district of Lapa. The whole area has a Bohemian feel to it. These days it is under transformation however as a tourist one should be careful while travelling across different locations. Roaming in and around the main streets is fine as you are safe in these locations. There will be plenty of other tourists and taxis around. If you wish to simply enjoy then you can right away join the prominent dance clubs but those willing to demonstrate dancing talent can learn in dance schools in order to show off their talent in prominent clubs.