There are many different styles of African dance in London, generally using strong drumming rhythms, covering everything from the traditional to the contemporary.
A useful resource identifying the rich and diverse range of African and Caribbean dance forms.
As seen on the hit BBC series Strictly Dance Fever, this dance style brings together classic ballroom dancing moves with an element of showmanship - think Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.
This is a balletic and acrobatic dance, combining grace, balance and beauty.
the word 'axé' (pronunciation "ashea") means power and energy, and the Axé dance reflects this synergy. It is a solo dance that started in 1992 during the Brazilian Carnival season in Bahia when the Axé rhythm replaced the Lambada. It is strongly influenced by African Dance movements and it is one of the most popular dances at the Brazilian Carnival, especially in the state of Bahia. It is an extremely happy and high-energy dance with lots of hip and arms movements.
Bacca Pipes jig is fast, complex and developed from an obscure Cotswold act of dancing over two crossed, long-stemmed tobacco pipes, usually made of clay.
Balboa dance is a form of swing dance that gained in popularity in the 1930s and 1940s. It is danced primarily in close embrace to a variety of tempos.
One of the most popular dances for children to learn, ballet teaches discipline, grace and poise and is a great foundation for dance in general.
Ballroom dancing can be a gentle, low-impact introduction to dance, giving you grounding in the classic dances of the foxtrot, the waltz and the tango.
A social and recreational dance with live music and a 'cellar', who calls the dance figures and steps that the dancers need to make. See also English Ceilidh.
An energetic style of dance that is about much more than the belly. This dance is an increasingly popular way of keeping toned and fit for people of all ages.
One of India's oldest dance forms and one of the most widely practiced, this dance strikes poses that will be reminiscent of the statues found in Hindu temples.
Blues dancing is a modern term used to describe a cluster of historical dances that developed alongside blues music.
Many of London's dance schools now offer classes in the dances of the Bollywood film scene, allowing you to take a step into your celluloid dreams.
Morris dancing from the areas around the border between England and Wales. Traditional costume includes a raggie jacket, a top hat decorated with feathers, bells tied around the knee, and face paint (used to disguise dancers).
A form of street dance that emerged with the hip-hop movement of the 1970s, break dancing involves many moves done with the torso, hands or arms in contact with the floor.
Traditional broom dances are found throughout England from East Anglia to Dartmoor. Broom dances typically include difficult 'tricks' or figures such as a balance, stepping round or over a broom that lies on the ground, various flip-up moves, swings and spins, throws, and percussion.
Butoh first appeared in Japan after the II World War. It's the collective name for a diverse range of activities, techniques and motivations for dance, performance, or movement. It typically involves playful and grotesque imagery, taboo topics, extreme or absurd environments, and is traditionally "performed" in white-body makeup with slow hyper-controlled motion, with or without an audience.
This is a traditional Italian folk dance from Sardinia typically danced in a closed or open circle. The dance is lively and animated with leaps and agile movements and usually accompanied by a choir of three or more singers in the centre of the circle.
Bachata is a style of dance that accompanies the music of the same name. It has its origins in the Dominican Republic. The dance is performed both in open position and in closed position depending on the setting and mood of the partners.
Is it a dance or a martial art? This flowing combination of kicks and crouches is beautiful to watch and a great way to develop balance and co-ordination.
This form of Irish folk dancing is performed in groups, making it a sociable dance and one that's popular at weddings.
This fusion of jive and salsa is one of the fastest-growing dance styles in the UK.
Associated with the ragtime - jazz era of the 1920s, this lively dance involves lots of kicks, flicks and twists and an element of comedy.
A Latin dance that's flirtatious and sexy, but still has the fluidity of a ballroom dance.
This is a specific subdivision of classical ballet. It is the stylised representation of a traditional folk or national dance, normally from a European country, and uses movements and music which have been adapted for the theatre.
Originating in the United States, it is a physical activity and a competitive sport based on organized routines which contain the components of tumbling, dance, jumps, cheers and stunts. It's a great team activity, which can give you a diverse range of new skills to learn.
Clog dancing is a form of Traditional English Step Dancing, popular in the North West England. The form developed from the days when mill workers wore clogs and would tap to the rhythms of the machines. The style uses a sequence of intricate toe and heel tapping steps and is the perfect way to do something as a community.
Anyone can do this sociable, group dance - and all it needs is some music with a heavy beat.
A dance style that developed out of the 17th century, it refers to several partnered folk dance styles in which couples dance in two facing lines.
Cornish dance originates from Cornwall and is a Celtic nation alongside Brittany, Wales, Scotland & Ireland. Cornish dance can roughly be divided into 3 areas: 'Scoot' or step dancing, 'Furry' or Feast Day dances and dance which you will often find in a Troyls the Cornish equivalent of a ceilidh.
Cotswold Morris includes dances traditionally from Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Warwickshire and Northamptonshire. Dances are performed in 'sets' of 6 or 8 people. Handkerchiefs, garlands or sticks are used in the dances.
Court Dance began as entertainment for the Royal Households of Malaysia as such the style is very graceful and the movements are slow, sustained and controlled. However today this dances are performed for the public in venues outside the palace such as theatres, corporate events, tourism projects and private functions.
For more than 50 years, Merce Cunningham has been a driving force in modern dance. His technique is rigorous, designed to create strength and flexibility of both body and mind.
Dance Hall is a dance style rooted in Caribbean culture and aesthetics. It is based on traditional Caribbean moves, but predominantly associated with a very modern expression and popular culture. Artists like No doubt, Missy Elliot, Black Eyed Peas, Ciara, Rhianna and more all draw inspiration from this rich culture.
Dartmoor step dance is performed on a 15' board, ideally placed on the back of a farm wagon, or usually danced on the floor.
This Arabic male twirling, associated with Sufist Islam, can regularly be seen in London.
Learn to move like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever and you need never be at a loss at a disco again.
Performed in teams (called 'sides') and often with colourful costumes. Includes morris dance, sword dance, broom dance, bacca dance, hobby horse and maypole.
There are many different styles of Egyptian dance, including the popular Raqs Sharqi, characterised by being fluid and rhythmic dances, with room for individual expression.
Is a lively folk and flamenco couple-dance, traditionally accompanied by guitars and castanets or hand-clapping. Fandango can both be sung and danced. The dance can be found in Spanish and Portuguese version as it is originated from Portugal in 16th century and the earliest description of the dance is found in a letter of a Spanish priest.
Farruca is a form of Flamenco music traditionally danced only by men.The dance often has fast turns, quick intense footwork, held lifts and falls, dramatic poses and bursts of filigrana (often with a flat hand). It can also be danced with a cape.
Figure Skating is an Olympic sport in which individuals, pairs, or groups perform spins, jumps and other intricate moves on ice skates. Figure skaters compete at various levels from beginner, at local and national competitions right through to Olympic level.
From Andalucía in Spain, this is the dance of swirling skirts, castanets and breath-takingly fast, rhythmic foot-stomping.
Uses pom-poms, twirled with the hands. Danced mostly by troupes of teenage girls at local carnivals and fetes across North West England.
Folk dance is used as a classification for dance styles that are characterised by their historical and social intention. They are often performed at social gatherings to traditional live music, creating a relaxed atmosphere.
It was born in the northeast of Brazil, from a mixture of African and European influences. This simple two-step dance is danced by couples who hold each other closely and elaborate with turns and variations.
A ballroom dance, characterised by long flowing movements across the dance floor, that can be danced to a variety of musical styles.
Freestyle is considered a form of dance improvisation, involving the process of spontaneously creating movement. The term 'freestyle' may be more associated with the Hip Hop and disco styles, it is however considered a generic term for all dance styles.
Is the typical dance and music of the street carnaval in Recife/Olinda, Northeastern Brazil. This dance is very rhythmic with individual choreography and fast paced walking, performed especially at carnival times in street parades. The dancers wear colorful clothing and carry a small umbrella.
An open circle or line dance, originating from 18th century France.
This technique has been created by Martha Graham, one of the pioneers of contemporary dance. It is a language of movement that reveals the passion, the rage and the ecstasy common to human experience.
A dance known as the Butcher's Dance originated in Constantinople and became popular with Greek Sailors. It can be danced in slow and fast version and has served as a base for Sirtaki.
The term 'Hebridean Dancing' is a fairly modern one and is used to describe a rich tapestry of solo dances that often use intricate percussive footwork.
The Hey developed from an adaptation of an old peasant dance, the Trenchmore, where female dancers wound in and around their partners.
This is the oldest of the traditional dances of Scotland and is a dance of joy performed at the end of a victorious battle. It is danced on the spot, and is said to be based on the antics of a stag on a hillside; the grouped fingers and upheld arms representing the antlers.
A form of street dance, performed to the rhythmic rap music of the same name.
Hobby Horses are costumed characters mostly associated with May Day celebrations, Mummers Plays and Morris dance.
A traditional folk dance, where the participants hold hands in a circle that moves rapidly around, performed in many countries, but particularly Israel.
A traditional English folk dance, thought of as a sailor's dance and danced in hard shoes.
A collective term covering a wide variety of dance types from the past as they are danced in the present.
Dances from the early 20th century can be recreated precisely, being within living memory and from the age of film and video recording. However, earlier dance types must be reconstructed from evidence such as surviving notations and instruction manuals.
This partner dance involves lots of spinning, twirls and moving in and out of each other's arms.
Ice dancing is a form of figure skating which draws from the world of ballroom dancing. Ice dance differs from pair skating by having different requirements for lifts, spins, throws and jumps.
Interpretive dance refers to a variety of dance styles that seeks to translate particular feelings and emotions, human conditions, situations, or experiences into movement and dramatic expression combined.
the world success of Riverdance and more recently lord of the dance has placed Irish dance on the international stage. is a group of traditional dance forms originating in Ireland which can broadly be divided into social dance and performance dances. Irish social dances can be divided further into céilí and set dancing. Irish set dances are quadrilles, danced by 4 couples arranged in a square, while céilí dances are danced by varied formations (ceili) of 2 to 16 people.
One of the types of Irish dance is the step dance. They are the 'clog and shuffle' type of dance. These are the most technically challenging dances. The dancer's feet strike the floor upward 75 times in 15 seconds.
Danced with your arms straight down by your sides, as you step high and jump - if you liked the River Dance, this is the one for you.
Jazz has become one of the most popular dance styles in recent years. Is a form of dance that showcases a dancer's individual style and originality. Every jazz dancer interprets and executes moves and steps in their own way. It is energetic and fun, consisting of unique moves, big leaps and quick turns.
Jigs are danced as solos, in couples and in larger groups of couples by both men and women
A style of dance originating from the 1940s, this is a lively and uninhibited form of swing.
Classical South Asian dance style originally from Northern India
A Malayalam dance style
Classical Sri Lankan dance style
Is one of the most well known dances of Greece and is often performed at social gatherings. It is danced in circle with a counter clockwise rotation, the dancers holding hands. The lead dancer usually holds the second dancer by a handkerchief allowing him or her to perform more elaborate steps and acrobatics. It is a joyous and festive dance.
This art form is a traditional Russian folk dance performed in a circle accompanied by a chorus. One of its many meanings is to symbolize the sun with its round shape or an eternal circle of life.
A popular genre of dance and music created in Angola in the early 1990's. It is known for having a slow, romantic flow mixed with African rhythm and is ideally danced accompanied by a partner.
This dance form comes from the old capital of Poland. The krakowiak is set for several couples, among whom the leading male dancer sings and indicates the steps. It is a fast dance with a characteristic pattern which allows one to recognize the dance form quite easily.
Classical South Asian dance style originally from Southern India
Lambada is a Brazilian dance for couples. It became internationally popular in the late 80s, especially in Latin America and Caribbean countries. The dance was associated with the Brazilian music style, which gave birth to the dance, also called Lambada.
Latin is a general classification that refers to various forms of ballroom and folk dance originating in Latin America. Ballroom examples include the cha- cha- cha, rumba, samba, merengue and mambo to name just a few.
This energetic, fast and happy dance is done with a partner, and involves lots of jumps, lifts, hops and swings.
Line dancing is associated with country-western music and folk culture. As the name suggests, it involves dancing in �lines', all performing a set stepping routine. It doesn't require much physical technique, but it will certainly challenge your memory and coordination.
Longsword dances originate from Yorkshire in England. Different to its neighbouring dance style Rapper sword dancing, Longsword dancing uses more rigid swords made of steel or wood and you will find much more variation within this style of sword dance.
It is typically considered a fusion of Jazz with ballet, and contemporary techniques. Lyrical dance is expressive, simultaneously subtle and dynamic, focused on conveying musicality and emotion through movement. It is a combination of intricate, highly technical, and pedestrian movement.
Maculelê is a dance that tells the story of the enslaved Africans who worked at the sugarcane plantations in Brazil. The sugar cane was cut with machetes, and in the Maculelê dance, dancers click machete blades rhythmically within the dance. Usually, sticks are used instead of machete blades, however it is understood the sticks symbolize the machetes used to cut the sugarcane in the time of slavery. Maculelê and capoeira share the same history and tell the story of the people who invented these art forms, therefore they are usually taught and performed together.
Polish folk dance with a lively tempo for a circle of couples. It became popular in the rest of Europe during 19th century.
It's a dance for couples originated from the Dominican Republic and practised throughout Latin America. It is easy to learn and nice to dance.
Milonga uses the same basic elements as Tango and requires a greater relaxation of legs and body. Movement is normally faster, and pauses are not made. It is rather a kind of rhythmic walking without complicated figures, with a much more "rustic" style than Tango.
Mambo is a Latin dance of Cuban origin that corresponds to mambo music. It was invented by Perez Prado and was popular in the 1940s and 50s in Cuba and New York. The mambo created by the new generation of Puerto Rican immigrants became very popular and is great fun to dance.
Macarena is a Spanish song about a woman of the same name or any woman from the La Macarena neighbourhood of Seville. The dance has been created for the song and is performed in time with the refrain of the song. It is very entertaining when danced in big groups.
The maypole would be typically hoisted on village greens at the beginning of the spring festivities and would be the centre of some of the old round dances. However the first maypole dances were performed without the use of ribbons.
Modern refers to the movement of the early 1990's where European and American dancers rebelled against the rigid constraints of Classical ballet technique. Modern dance is characterised by its relaxed, expressionist style in which choreographers use emotion to create the steps. This style is usually performed in bare feet, often with non-traditional costuming.
Modern jazz dance is considered a highly athletic, exciting and technical American dance form. It is usually performed to upbeat music and examples of this style can be seen in most musical theatre shows, to the backup dancers for popular music shows like the X Factor.
Molly dancing is one of the traditional dances of East Anglia. Molly dancing is associated with the annual Plough Monday tradition (the first Monday after Twelfth Night), and was the first day after Christmas that farm-workers were meant to return to work. Modern sides often wear brightly coloured, mismatching clothes, and face paint to disguise themselves.
A display form of traditional English folk dance. There are a number of styles - Cotswold, Border, North West, Molly, Fluffy (see also Sword dance).
Musical Theatre is a form of theatre combining songs, spoken dialogue, acting, and dance. In recent years we have witnessed Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's quest on TV to find the stars of West End productions of The Sound of Music, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor© Dreamcoat, Oliver! and The Wizard of Oz.
Dancing from the North West of England. Iron-shod clogs, often with bells on, are worn and short sticks with bells on or short lengths of braided rope are used as props.
These are also referred to as "party" or "dance party" dances. They might include quirky and unusual steps, or have an unusual name. Their long lasting popularity has been based in their being characteristically humorous.
The Oberek also called obertas is the fastest of the five national dances of Poland. It consists of quick steps and constant turns and its beauty depends on each individual dancer's talent of spinning at the fast tempo of the Oberek.
Is one of the classical dance forms of India, originated from the state of Orissa. It is particularly distinguished from other classical Indian dance forms by the importance it places upon the tribhangi (literally: three parts break), the independent movement of head, chest and pelvis.
A lively dance for couples, thought to have started as a Czech folk dance, that is part of the traditional repertoire of the ballroom dancer.
A folk dance from Poland, this dance is done in a circle.
Popular Italian folk dance originally born in Salento. It is danced by couples not necessarily of the opposite sex following the music and having great fun.
Pachanga is a type of Latin American music and dance. It means 'Cuban dance' from the location where has been originated and where it still remains very popular.
Polska belongs to a family of music and dance forms shared by the Nordic countries. Polska is the name used in Sweden and Finland and is almost always seen as a partner dance.
Paso Doble originates from Spain. It developed on the basis of movements performed by the matadors during the bull fights. In Paso Doble the man (matador) is in focus more than in any other dance. The lady is left with playing a role of a cape ("cappa") the red canvas of the torreador or a bull, depending on circumstances.
Parkour is a method of movement focused on moving around obstacles with speed and efficiency. It is further defined as a form of urban acrobatics in which participants, known as free runners, use the city and rural landscape to perform movements through its structures.
In 1651 a music publisher called John Playford published the English dancing master, which explained dances in the English courts at that time. It is used as a generic term to describe all dances in that style.
Pilates is a body conditioning method designed to develop flexibility, strength and muscular endurance. Pilates puts emphasis on body alignment to develop a strong core, it uses breathing techniques to relieve stress and most uniquely, it helps you acquire an overall awareness of how your body works.
A dance that was popular in the 19th century, performed by four couples, the quadrille was a precursor to the square dance.
Quick step is an International style ballroom dance similar to a fast Foxtrot. The dancers should appear to be very light on their feet. It is very energetic and form-intensive and should be smooth and glamorous.
The rapper dance is a fast Traditional English dance whose origins lie in the mining villages of the Northumberland and Durham coalfield of England. It involves five people connected by short, two-handled flexible swords, forming a chain. Intricate figures are danced with the dancers passing between, under and over the swords.
The reel is a folk dance type as well as the accompanying dance tune type. It is often the first base dance learnt by all beginner dancers and is made up by speedy gliding movements that are silent.
Rock and Roll is a very athletic, competitive form of dance that originated from Lindy Hop. It is danced by both couples and groups, and incorporates an array of challenging lifts, spins, swings and much more.
This Afro-Cuban dance style has a reputation as a sexy, flirtatious dance, but it can also be a smooth, controlled ballroom dance.
The Russian Troika is a dance for three people - of any gender - and an entertaining folk dance.
This incredibly popular Cuban dance is a relatively gentle but fun dance, with many clubs offering tuition as part of a night of dancing.
This Brasilian dance is the one that brings carnivals to life all over the world.
It is an elegant partner ballroom dance based on the samba musical rhythm, though it is quite different from International Ballroom Samba. It can be danced to various types of samba rhythms; the most appropriate ones being Bossa Nova, Choro or Samba Canção. This beautiful dance has created its own identity after much influence from other dance styles such as Tango and Bolero. It originated in the 1930s as a social dance in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and through the years it has evolved to becoming a samba style that is known for its grace and cheeky playfulness.
Performed by many capoeira groups, samba de roda (dance circle) is a traditional Afro-Brazilian dance that has been associated with capoeira for many years. The orchestra is composed by pandeiro (tambourine), atabaque (drum), berimbau-viola (berimbau with the smallest cabaça and the highest pitch), chocalho (rattle - a percussion instrument), accompanied by singing and clapping. The Bahian samba de roda became a UNESCO Heritage of Humanity in 2005 and it is the main root of the samba carioca, the samba that is played and danced in Rio de Janeiro.
This folk dance, from Bavaria or Austria, is the dance that is sometimes accompanied by yodelling.
This lively dance, that emerged in 1930s America, has developed into a number of different styles.
Greek popular dance created for the movie Zorba the Greek. Danced in a line or circle can be slow and fast, as well as being great fun.
Popular flamenco-style dance from Seville. Danced by couples of all ages and by whole families since it is a fiesta dance.
We find it all around us: in the streets, in school yards, in nightclubs. Street dance can be seen as a physical exercise, an art form or a competition. It can be great fun as much as fascinating.
A dance which became popular in Spanish colonies before entering as a typical movement of the suite in the baroque period. The sarabande form was revived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by famous composers and inspired the title of Ingmar Bergman's last film Saraband (2003).
A Serbian dance similar to the Israeli Hora.
The slip jig is one the four most common Irish stepdances. This dance is graceful and controlled, with heels very high, often called "the ballet of Irish dance".
Scottish Country dancing is a popular social dance form that evolved around the 18th century. It involves groups of mixed couples following an intricate formation dance
Scottish Highland dance refers to a style of athletic solo dancing which developed in the Gaelic Highland of Scotland. It is often performed to Highland bagpipes, and it is significantly characterised by the use of specialized soft shoes, known as Ghillies
Social dance is used as a classification for dance forms and styles where socialising is the primary focus - see English Ceilidh, Barn Dance, Playford
Square dance is a traditional folk dance performed by four couples arranged in a square formation. The dance movements are based on a variety of steps and figures used in other traditional folk and social dance styles
Percussive forms of dance generally performed by solo dancers using hard soled shoes or clogs - see Clog Dance
Synchronised Skating is arguably the fastest growing competitive sport. It combines the beauty and technical demands of figure skating and ice dance with the excitement of a team sport. It is the perfect way to get people of all ages and abilities to work together.
This controlled but brooding dance is one of passion and expression, but does not require great athleticism.
This dance uses shoes with small metal plates on the soles to make the dance itself part of the music - and companies like Tap Dogs are now showing how contemporary it can be.
There are a variety of venues across London that provide the perfect setting for an afternoon of socialising whilst taking part in ballroom and sequence dances.
This rock 'n' roll dance was named after the song that started the craze, but its enduring popularity is down to its upbeat simplicity.
An eccentric ragtime dance, it consists of four hopping steps sideways, with the feet well apart, which is embellished with flicks, trots and abrupt stops.
Couple folk dance from southern Italy accompanied by tambourines.
Spiritual meditative dances usually danced in circle. The emphasis is on participation regardless of ability, and dances are almost never performed before an audience. Dancers of all levels of ability dance together. They provide a joyful, multi-cultural way to touch the spiritual essence within ourselves and others.
Ukrainian Dance is often described as energetic, fast-paced, and entertaining, and along with traditional Easter eggs (pysanky), it is a characteristic example of Ukrainian culture instantly recognized and highly appreciated throughout the world.
This court dance of the Renaissance has been seen in such movies as Elizabeth and Shakespeare in Love.
Is the authentic recreation of historical dance styles. The term is also used specifically to denote re-creation of the dances of the English Regency American Civil War, Victorian, and Ragtime eras. Several Vintage Dance Societies hold balls and events to promote and teach Vintage dances.
In the waltz, dancers seem to glide across the floor effortlessly, in smooth flowing movements.
The dance was originally performed by farmers and often came in the form of a competition where dancers would show off their stamina and athleticism. The difference between Welsh clogging and other step dance traditions is that the performance will not only include complicated stepping, but also 'tricks'.
This dance belongs to the family of syrtos, a group of Greek folk dances of ancient origin. Is one of the most popular dances throughout Greece and similar to kalamatianos. It is danced in festival gatherings in a circle mostly by women.
The famous Russian Sailor's Dance is also known in Russia as Yablochko "Little Apple". This Russian folk dance has been danced by many troupes for international audiences all over the world.
Urban improvisational dance from Greece, danced by only one man at a time.
A Spanish dance which derives from the word 'zapato' which means shoe. It is dance following a lively rhythm characterized by the striking of the dancer's shoes.
Is a dance done in one form or the other all over Greece. Even if the structure is essentially the same, this dance will look somewhat different in each village. It is fast and can be dance by both men and women.
Zumba Fitness® is the only Latin-inspired dance-fitness program that blends red-hot international music, created by Grammy Award-winning producers, and contagious steps to form a "fitness-party" that is downright addictive.
Since its inception in 2001, the Zumba program has grown to become the world's largest and most successful dance-fitness program with more than 12 million people of all shapes, sizes and ages taking weekly Zumba classes in over 110,000 locations across more than 125 countries.
Zumba® involves both dance and aerobic elements. The choreography incorporates a selection of movements from hip-hop, samba, salsa, merengue, mambo, martial arts, bollywood and belly dance styles.