Footloose: Holidays for Dance-lovers
When it comes to really getting to the heart of a destination and understanding the history and traditions of its people, sometimes there’s no better way than through an immersive musical and dance experience.
Regardless of cultural differences and language barriers, the art of dance reveals a wealth of emotion and history. It’s raw and real and passionate, not to mention beautiful to watch. And that’s why we like to give our travellers the option to experience the national dance of a country where we can.
Whether you’re a seasoned ballroom extraordinaire or a bit of a dad dancer, we have a whole host of dance-infused holidays that are designed to bring you closer to your destination (and get those toes tapping!).
Tango in Argentina
In the 19th century, thousands of young Europeans escaped to the Americas in search of a better life. Many of them arrived in the port area of Buenos Aires, Argentina and settled among the indigenous people and former slaves that lived there. People from Spain, Italy, England, Poland and Africa brought flamenco, polka and African dance rituals across the ocean. Over time, these traditions meshed and blended together and tango – the ‘music of immigrants’ – was born.
In the beginning, tango was only danced by men, accompanied by flutes, violins and guitars. The flutes were later replaced by the bandoneon (a type of accordion), which gave tango is distinctive flavour.
On our 'Grand Tour of South America', you’ll spend three nights in Buenos Aires, a city of simmering excitement and a tango heartbeat. You’ll have time to wander the very streets where the first versions of the tango were feverishly stepped around 200 years ago. For an unforgettable experience, you might like to opt for an evening of tango as an optional excursion. Enjoy a fierce display of passion and tradition with music, singing and dancing.
Vodka, onion domes and the ballet - three things that are synonymous with Russia. And the ballet, in particular, holds a special place in many Russian’s hearts. Ballet dancers in Russia must practise tremendous discipline. As home to some of the greatest ballet dancers in history and two of the most esteemed ballet schools the world over, there are high standards to maintain.
But ballet didn’t originate in Russia. It’s thought the dance made its way to Russia from France, but nonetheless, the Russians certainly gave it the lofty esteem the dance form enjoys today. It’s the unique blend of classicism and Russian folk dance that gave it its distinguished form. Even ‘Swan Lake’, composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, wasn't well received when it was released in 1875 due to the complexity of the music. But today, it's considered one of the greatest classical ballets of all time.
The romance and beauty of this timeless story has mesmerised audiences for more than 130 years. It’s almost impossible not to feel moved as you witness the four acts in one of the oldest buildings of the Winter Palace Complex, the Hermitage Theatre (completed in 1783). This promises to be an evening of history, romance and emotion.
Waltz in Vienna
The oldest of all modern ballroom dances, the Viennese waltz has a hefty heritage. It originates from the 17th-century Italian ‘volta’ (a scandalous dance for its time – the first that required men and women to dance together, no less) and the mid 18th-century German ‘waltzon’, both of which translate to ‘to turn’ and ‘to revolve’ respectively – the defining characteristic of the dance today.
By the early 1800s, the waltz had become very popular in Vienna. Large dance halls were appearing all over the city to accommodate the craze. The Apollo, which opened in 1808, is said to have accommodated 6,000 dancers.
On our 'Melodies of the Danube' and 'Majesty of the Danube' cruises aboard MS Bellejour and 'The Glorious Rhine and the Danube' cruise aboard MS Serenade 1, you’ll have the chance explore the city of the waltz for yourself. Vienna is a magnificent city and was home to a number of classical composers over the centuries – and for good reason. As you wander, the streets ooze opulence and charm at every turn.
While you’re there, you’ll have the chance to attend a classical concert in one of the city’s impressive palaces. Watch in wonder as dancers twist and turn and rise and fall in quick succession to the melodies of the live orchestra. The acoustics are simply breathtaking.
Back on board the ship, you’ll have the chance to take your understanding of the ballroom classic one step further, step-by-step. We invite a local waltz expert aboard for a lesson – grab your partner and you’ll be an expert before you know it.
We want to know, what dance would you like to learn more about on holiday? Let us know on our Facebook page.
Article published on: 18th October, 2019