Each country in the world comes with its own particular music style, however some countries seem to live through their music much more than others and its inhabitants blessed with a sense of rhythm and snake hips that the rest of us can only dream about. Latin America is a prime example of this: from Colombia down to Argentina, the continent pulses, shimmies and shakes to a variety of different beats. It is no wonder that most of the dances we see on Strictly Come Dancing originate in South America. Dehouche give you a whirlwind tour of the best places to hone your dancing skills and ensure that nobody puts Baby in a corner…
Brazil, the land of beautiful women, caipirinhas and of course samba. It’s impossible to walk the streets of Rio without hearing the sultry tones of bossa nova escaping from a small boteco where old men sit around and discuss the day’s news over a cold chopp. To find the true heart of music in Rio you need to head to the streets of Lapa. Since the early 1950s, Lapa has been known for its lively cultural life, is still famous for its many restaurants, bars and clubs where the various forms of Brazilian music can be appreciated first hand.,. If you are looking to get chatted up by some Carioca locals who will be more than too happy to take you for a spin around the floor while practicing their English, then Rio Scenarium is the best bet, but for the more discerning dancer, Carioca da Gema (literally meaning Carioca from the Egg Yolk) is where it is at- from old charmers in white suits to beautiful girls combined with some of the city’s best music, an evening here will really give you a sense of what it is all about. Dehouche will arrange a private class with our favorite samba dancer whose long history teaching the Carnival Queens themselves means she is more than able to get even the stiffest hips moving.
For tango aficionados there is no better place in the world to go than Buenos Aires, the true birthplace of tango. Originally a dance of the lower-classes, tango soon gained popularity amongst the higher echelons and then of the world, as the dancers began to travel to Europe. Visit Buenos Aires and you will see that the popularity of tango is going nowhere fast, from hidden milongas that are open well into sunrise to the alleys of La Boca, thick with dancers anxious to perform a personal ‘corrida’ for you. However for the best show in town you need to make a visit to the Faena Hotel and Universe to see the Rojo Tango. The show features the best dancing in an intimate setting with just 100 seats in a dark red velvet room.
When thinking of Colombia the picture of a beautiful couple dancing salsa will oft spring to mind, however there is another national dance that is less well known but equally as enthralling – the Vallenato. Although it only started to gather popularity in the late 1980’s, it’s origins are still shrouded in mystery. A sub-genre that has arisen from the traditional Vallenato is Vallenato-Protesta which is known for its socially aware lyrics. To many of us the idea of spending any longer than you have to on a public bus sounds like a horrible idea, however when you have buses, or chivas as they are known in Colombia, as pretty as they do it would be a waste to only use them to get from a to b. Luckily the Colombians think so to, ,and although they are still used for their original function of transport in rural areas, they are now more commonly party buses in Medellin, Cali and Baranquilla, with vallenato being a popular choice of music. Drinks and food flow as the bus bumps around Colombia’s cobbled streets, with shots of aguardiente, an anise-flavoured liquour and the local moonshine, shared around liberally.