Top 10 Most Popular Folk Dances in the World.

1. Samba (Brazil)

Yes, it might sound as one of the toughest dances to excel at but for the Brazilians’, it’s all in a day’s work. Well, maybe not a day’s work but certainly a must during carnivals and celebrations. There are different variations of Samba based on regions but the basic steps are similar; what changes usually are the music and the movement of legs. It is a fun dance and perhaps that is why the dance is highly appreciated all around the world.

2. Tarantella (Italy)

Around the 16th century in Taranto, Italy, people broke into a dance to ward off death from the highly poisonous bite of a Tarantula spider. They would dance in a frantic and hysterical fashion to fast music, and this is what later came to be known as Tarantella. Today, it is one of the most popular folk dances in southern Italy and also the world. With its hypnotic music set at a high tempo, Tarantella is also used for therapeutic purposes.

3. Flamenco (Spain)

The captivating flamenco is native to the Andalusian region of Spain. It isn’t just a dance but an art form which is expressed through singing, dancing, guitar playing, hand clapping or finger snapping. The female flamenco dancer’s red billowy dress is symbolic of the art form.

4. Dragon dance (China)

Although this dance may not be as popular as the lion dance in our country, the dragon dance is popular not only in mainland China but in other countries such as the USA with a big Chinese population. The Chinese dragons are the symbol of China and this dance is practiced only during festive occasions.

5. Kabuki (Japan)

Kabuki isn’t merely just a dance, it combined the art of drama, singing and dancing. Kabuki began in the streets of Kyoto in the 17th century by only female performers who played both female and male roles. Kabuki translates to ‘out of the ordinary’.

6. Tango (Argentina)

Buenos Aires is the birth place of one of the world’s most famous ballroom dances. However, before it hit the ballrooms, this highly sensual and erotic dance was only performed in bars by the lower middle-class group in the late 19th century.

7. Hula (Hawaii)

The hypnotic hula dance from Hawaii was created by the Polynesians of the country. The hula is performed either sitting or standing or a combination of both. The ukulele is an important accompaniment to the hula creating the soothing vibes alongside the dance form. 

8. Bharatanatyam (India)

Bharatanatyam, a pre-eminent Indian classical dance form presumably the oldest classical dance heritage of India, is regarded as the mother of many other Indian classical dance forms. Conventionally a solo dance performed only by women, it initiated in the Hindu temples of Tamil Nadu and eventually flourished in South India. The theoretical base of this form traces back to ‘Natya Shastra’, the ancient Sanskrit Hindu text on the performing arts. A form of illustrative anecdote of Hindu religious themes and spiritual ideas emoted by dancers with excellent footwork and impressive gestures, its performance repertoire includes nrita, nritya, and natya. Accompanists include a singer, music and particularly the guru who directs and conducts the performance. It also continues to inspire several art forms, including paintings and sculptures, starting from the spectacular 6th to 9th century CE temple sculptures. 

9. Apsara (Cambodia)

Apsara is actually a female spirit or nymph found in Hindu and Buddhist mythologies. The Royal Ballet of Cambodia created the dance under the patronage of the Queen in the 1940s. The elaborate, heavily ornamented costumes add to the intrigue of the dance.

10. Irish step dance (Ireland)

Irish step dance evolved from traditional Irish dance and is today quite popular around the world. The dance can be performed wearing either of the two kinds of shoes – hard or soft.  The best part is that it can be danced solo or in groups. Such is the popularity of this dance form that several competitions are held in its name. It is a dance performed during celebrations and carnivals and involves quick and intricate footwork.