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With Strictly Come Dancing in full swing, winter travellers may be looking to partner a destination that can offer rhythm to their holiday.
Take to the floor Aruba, the Dutch Caribbean island where everyone seems to have natural timing and will grab a partner as soon as the music starts. It may not be Viennese waltz or the foxtrot but the range of dances found on the island are fun, informal and an opportunity for everyone to step out.
There are five main dances popular on Aruba – salsa, merengue, kizomba, rueda and bachata – all of which can be learned at local dance schools. But, with salsa and merengue in particular, there are often free sessions and demonstrations for visitors in bars and at hotels, while some of the dance schools also offer free introductory lessons.
Although salsa originated in Eastern Cuba, today’s dance is said to have been born in New York and is a mixture of Afro Cuban folk dances with jazz.
Merengue, meanwhile, is a style of Dominican music and dance. Partners hold each other in a closed position. The leader holds the follower's waist with the right hand, while holding the follower's right hand with the left at the follower's eye level. It is said to be a lot of fun but can be repetitive if dancers only know the basic steps.
Kizomba originated in Angola following the influences of traditional Semba and merengue. Kizomba music is characterised by a slower and usually very romantic rhythm.
Rueda is an exciting dance from Cuba and officially called Rueda de Casino. Rueda means ‘wheel’ and one dances in a circle.
Dominica is also the home of the sexy and sensual bachata, featuring graceful moves and different kinds of footwork patterns.
One of the most popular dance schools is the ArubaSalsa Dance Company, based close to Aruba’s main hotel area. It specialises in salsa, merengue and bachata and also offers daily complimentary workshops at locations around the island, together with free dance lessons.
ArubaSalsa also offers fun course for children, who can learn the basics of salsa, merengue and bachata (depending on age).
Other dance schools include Aruba Pachanga Dance Studio, run by an accomplished competitive dance couple and the first dance school on the island. It offers classes in all dances types.
Tel: +297 562-1221
Kitty-Kitty Aruba dance studio offers pole fitness/dance, chair dancing, and various workshops focusing on feminine movements allowing women to comfortably explore sensual dances that are both physically beneficial and proven confidence builders, all in an accepting, nurturing environment just for the ladies.