September 5, 2008 / 11:14 AM / 10 years ago

Travel Picks: Top 10 quirky places to dance

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - Say what you want about reality television, it’s done one great thing for the world - it has it up and dancing.

Members of a folklorico dance group from Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico perform near Naco, April 14, 2007. REUTERS/Jeff Topping

People are hitting the dance floor in record numbers and the trend shows no sign of stopping, according to travel website VirtualTourist.

“When the airports of Paris offered passengers free dancing lessons this summer, it was a sure sign that the dance craze had become an international phenomenon,” said Giampiero Ambrosi, general manager of VirtualTourist.com (www.VirtualTourist.com).

“Even steps considered old-fashioned are making a huge comeback and regardless of personal preferences, we’ve found plenty of quirky ideas for filling up your dance card.”

VirtualTourist has come up with a list of the top 10 quirky places to dance around the world. The list was compiled by VirtualTourist and is not endorsed by Reuters:

1. Blackpool Tower Ballroom; Blackpool, Lancashire, England

Built to resemble the Eiffel Tower, this building is even more interesting on the inside than it is on the outside. The quintessential example of the classic ballroom, this ornate hall has been feeling the light tap of Capezios for generations.

2. Swing Dancing; Antarctica

Who would have guessed that a favorite leisure activity for inhabitants of Antarctica is swing dancing, a past time they often enjoy at Gallagher’s, a popular pub.

3. Line Dancing; Singapore

Where better to go line dancing than in the land of satay and laksa. Singapore has just as many fans of the Boot Scootin’ Boogie as Dallas or Houston, so if you live for hitting the hardwood with your snakeskins, you’ll feel right at home there.

4. Salsa Dancing; Bangkok, Thailand

Salsa might not be the first thing most people think of when they think of Bangkok, but visitors won’t have any trouble finding a place to try this sultry dance. In fact, Latin dances of any kind are very big here and lessons are easy to find. If you’re there in the fall, be sure to catch Salsabangkok Fiesta.

5. The Finnish Tango; Finland

The weather may be frigid and gloomy, but the Finns are hot for tango. So much so that Tangomarkkinat, the five-day tango festival held every summer, is one of the country’s biggest events.

6. Kaiserball; The Hofburg, Vienna, Austria

Even if you’ve never danced in your life, there’s no reason to let that keep you from participating in one of the world’s most legendary dance experiences. The annual New Year’s Eve Kaiserball held at the Hofburg palace complex in Vienna offers waltz lessons that start the afternoon of the big event.

7. Morris Dancing; England

It’s exacting, highly physical and even a little comical. Following centuries-old tradition, dancers dress in bells, flowers, and ribbons, skillfully incorporating props like sticks and scarves. If you can’t make it to England there are plenty of Morris teams - known to dancers as “sides” - all over the world.

8. Irish Dancing; Ireland

Although Irish dance troupes have enjoyed huge commercial success in recent years, there’s no need for tourists to go to pricey productions to get the real experience. In fact, most visitors will tell you some of the best Irish dancing is found in remote community centers, schools, and even Irish pubs.

9. Belly Dancing; Turkey

It’s not all archaeological sites and ancient palaces. In their time off from building an Empire, the Ottomans needed a way to relax and their favorite dance still reigns. Shows and demonstrations are plentiful, but be prepared - most venues like to make it an interactive experience.

10. Greek Dancing; Greece

Although Greek dancing looks like a simple line step, once the tempo speeds up, it’s more like a marathon. Even the smallest restaurants offer lively dance sessions that often end up spilling out into the street along with broken plates.

Editing by Belinda Goldsmith

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