Dancing is such a fun activity. It is crazy to think that there is dancing all over the world, and people use it in celebrations, in weddings, in death, and just as a social event. I am not certain how big of a role dancing has played in Chile’s history, but it is playing a big part in my travels here!
I have been participating in a samba group that meets on Saturdays pretty close to where I live. One of the program employee dances, and she invites anybody who wants to come and learn a bit. Samba is a pretty fun dance. I do not think it is necessarily pretty, but it is fun to watch and to do. The group is all Chileans, and then the few of us from the program who want to learn. There is also a drum group that practices with us so that we can practice at tempo. There is a whole lot of fun involved, too!
I am also in a dance class called “Traditional Chilean Dances.” That class has been a blast since day one. It is only available for study abroad kids, so we are all incredibly awkward and not great dancers. Most dances involve a lot of hip action, trying to be “flirty and sexy,” and that just makes us all even more awkward. That class is a good time all the time.
The one dance we definitely need to know is called “La Cueca.” It is Chile’s national dance, and during their independence days, September 18 and 19, it is danced all around the country! La Cueca is very fun to do, but it takes a lot of practice. I have always been able to pick out the beat of a song and move to that beat, but Cueca is not like that. It is more following your partner and what feels right. I like it, but it has been a challenge. Whether I am moving my feet or my hips, or some combination of the two, I am glad that I have been dancing since I have arrived. It is great exercise, and motivates me to make friends.