Booking.com shares five captivating destinations to celebrate International Dance Day
One of the great joys of traveling is being able to immerse yourself into a local culture, with a significant almost two thirds (62%) of US travelers revealing that experiencing new and different lifestyles is a motivational factor of travel.* So, what better way to get into the groove and celebrate International Dance Day on April 29th than to experience a nation’s traditional dance? If you’ve ever experienced a rush of euphoria after an evening on the dancefloor, you know firsthand that dancing is an outlet for joy that’s good for both the body and the soul.
With its mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world, Booking.com has selected five of the best captivating destinations for dances from around the world, along with the top places to stay. From passionate flamenco dancing in Spain to the elegant waltz in Vienna, there’s nothing like seeing and living a dance in its cultural heartland.
The Samba, a lively and rhythmical dance which originated in Brazil, is most popular in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Salvador and Recife. Travelers who visit one of Brazil’s many celebrations, such as the world-renowned Rio Carnival held every year before Lent, will be surrounded by Samba dancers wearing flamboyant costumes. Whilst there, visitors can even try out the dance for themselves at one of the many local dance schools. Get into the party vibe with a Caipirinha, the country’s refreshing national cocktail, or try the Walking Food Tour to discover local delicacies such as ‘moqueca,’ a delicious local fish stew, and sweet treats like ‘quindim,’ a popular baked dessert made with coconut milk and egg custard.
Where to stay: Overlooking the exotic Guanabara Bay, the super stylish Mama Ruisa Boutique Hotel is full of beautifully curated furniture and boasts a veranda, outdoor pool and incredible views of Sugarloaf Mountain. At any time of year, visitors can experience the Samba parades in all their glory at the nearby Rio Carnival Rehearsal Experience, which offers an exclusive sneak peek of a carnival rehearsal, as well as the chance to learn some dance moves, play instruments and discover the history of the Samba!
Flamenco dancing is hundreds of years old and is still performed today in its home country of Spain. Flamenco is more than just a dance; it’s accompanied by a guitar player (guitarra), clapping (palmas) and vocals (cante) to create the ultimate dynamic performance. It’s not certain exactly where flamenco was born, but it was in southern Spain, and likely Seville. Every other autumn, the city plays host to the Bienal Flamenco Festival, one of the world’s largest flamenco festivals. Throughout the year, visitors can marvel at the best dancers, singers and musicians on the scene at the Flamenco Show for a taste of the city's heritage and culture through the performances – or head to one of the many ‘tablaos’ in Seville which are recognized as hotspots for flamenco dancing.
Where to stay: Situated in the heart of the historic Seville, the stylish apartments at Numa Fast & Digital Check-in I Molina include well-equipped rooms with bright, colourful décor. Guests can unwind at this Travel Sustainable property with a refreshing beverage on the patio terrace in the sunshine or take a dip in the outdoor rooftop pool. Nearby, visitors will find the impressive Seville Cathedral and Alcazar Palace, for a conveniently close culture fix.
The waltz dance originated in Germany during the 16th Century and is now one of the most classic forms of ballroom dancing. Characterized by its stately posture and many turns, the waltz stems from a form of folk dance and takes different forms such as the German and Viennese waltz. Vienna is home to the Viennese waltz and, in the 1800s, its grand ballrooms could hold a quarter of the city’s population and were packed due to the popular nature of the dance. Most famous is the Blue Danube waltz by Austrian composer Strauss. Experience its namesake with a Wachau Valley Tour & Danube River Cruise that will take visitors through the rolling hills of the Danube Valley, stopping at the impressive baroque Melk Abbey.
Where to stay: Stay in the heart of Vienna at the opulent The Ritz-Carlton, a Travel Sustainable property located in four historic palaces, combining historic charm with modern luxuries. The Ritz Carlton offers guests the option to travel back in time and experience a grand ball day in order to master the art of the Viennese waltz; the hotel itself is also surrounded by many exclusive historical ball venues. Visitors can prep and pamper themselves beforehand with a visit to the onsite spa and start off the evening with a cocktail at the Atmosphere Rooftop Bar.
Hula is the heart and soul of Hawaii and the national dance is steeped in tradition. In ancient Hawaii, the Natives employed hula to keep their history, mythology and culture alive, using the dance as a method of storytelling before a written language existed. Most Hawaiian hula dances are performed by women, however traditionally men were just as likely to perform them. The beautiful art form is accompanied by chant (Oli) or by song (Mele), and usually performed barefoot with dancers wearing grass skirts and a ‘lei’ - a garland traditionally made of flowers and worn around the neck. Travelers can experience free hula shows at hotels and bars across Maui, the second biggest Hawaiian island and famed for its beautiful sandy beaches. Or get into the party spirit with a Sunset Luau Cruise, sailing the coastline of Maui at sunset with hula entertainment and a feast of baby-back ribs and coconut potatoes.
Where to stay: Located on the golden sands of Kaanapali Beach in Lahaina, the luxurious Kaanapali Alii Resort boasts onsite tennis courts, a golf course, outdoor swimming pool and free hula shows most nights. Rooms offer a variety of exquisite views overlooking the mountains, tropical gardens and serene turquoise ocean. Guests can begin their day with a morning yoga session, before getting into the hula spirit on one of the many sandy beaches nearby.
There are many traditional dances in Japan, one of which includes Awa Odori, a joyous blend of sound, movement, and tradition. The up-tempo dance is accompanied by a live band with traditional instruments, kane (bell) and taiko (drum), and married with exuberant cultural traditions. Women dress in kimonos and pointed hats made of woven rushes, while men dance crouched low. Travelers looking to experience the dance can take a trip to Tokushima, a city on the east coast of Shikoku Island, where tourists flock to the streets in August for the Awa Dance Festival, one of Japan’s largest and oldest street festivals (‘Awa’ is the former name for the Tokushima Prefecture while ‘Odori’ means dance). The Awa Odori Museum is open all year round for visitors to learn about the history and culture of the dance, watch a live performance and even try it themselves.
Where to stay: The Resort Hotel Moana Coast is a 30-minute drive away from the Awa Odori Museum, and offers spacious rooms with modern interiors and a sumptuous jacuzzi overlooking the ocean. Relax in the evening at the onsite restaurant where fresh seafood and local ingredients are served up daily. Guests can dive deeper into Japan’s culture at the Otsuka Museum of Art and Ryosen-ji Temple – both just a short drive away.
For travelers who can’t wait to get their dancing shoes on themselves, Booking.com is sharing Getaway Deals for travelers to use when booking their next trip. Discounts start at 15 percent at participating properties indicated by the “Getaway 2022” badge, and are valid for stays with check-in from 4 April and check-out on or before 30 September 2022. Bookings must be made before 11:59 pm CET on 30 September 2022. In addition, Booking.com is bringing the great value of its Genius program to even more customers by giving all account holders access to the program’s Level 1 benefits, with no minimum number of previous bookings to qualify, including access to exclusive 10% discounts at hundreds of thousands of participating properties around the world. All travelers have to do is download the Booking.com app, log in and look for the Genius logo to identify associated benefits, discounts and perks.
*Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of 48,413 respondents across 31 markets (2,000 from USA, 1,864 from Canada, 1,999 from Mexico, 2,003 from Colombia, 2,005 from Brazil, 2,002 from Argentina, 1,020 from Chile, 1,777 from Australia, 818 from New Zealand, 1,999 from Spain, 2,002 from Italy, 1,998 from France, 1,990 from UK, 2,005 from Germany, 2,003 from Netherlands, 985 from Denmark, 999 from Sweden, 910 from Croatia, 918 from Switzerland, 1,986 from Belgium, 998 from Russia, 953 from Israel, 1,999 from India, 1,990 from China, 901 from Hong Kong, 1,775 from Thailand, 1,001 from Singapore, 975 from Taiwan, 1,800 from Vietnam, 1,757 from South Korea, 1,001 from Japan). In order to participate in this survey, respondents had to be 18 years of age or older, had to have traveled at least once for business or leisure in the past 12 months, and planning to travel in 2022 and be either the primary decision maker or involved in the decision making of their travel. The survey was taken online and took place in January 2022.