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Let's dance: Get your groove on at one of Brussels' many dance classes
If you’ve ever wanted to bust some moves like Beyoncé or get your naach on Bollywoodstyle, there’s a place for you and both your left feet in Brussels. Dancing is big fun. It’s great cardiovascular activity, a full-body workout, and if you get lost in the music, it’s practically spiritual. No one is expected to have any experience or proficiency at beginner’s classes, and with the variety that’s on offer this autumn, all you need is attitude and the willingness to watch and follow.
Inspired by Fred and Ginger, or more recently Sebastian and Mia? Tap dancing has been enjoying a renaissance in Brussels since the release of La La Land. Learn from tap world championship medal winner Katalin Roman at Fred Academy.
Fast-paced, joyful and addictive, Lindy hop came up from the streets of Harlem in the 1920s but grew in popularity during the Swing era of the 40s, when it absorbed elements of tap, the Charleston and the Breakaway. Give it a go at the Brussels Swing Dance Club and dance it out at free Lindy hop nights on Tuesdays at Madame Moustache.
Whether it’s Slumdog Millionaire or the longer-lasting trend that’s directed the Western gaze at India’s mainstream cinema, Bollywood dancing has become well established in Belgium. Try it, or more classical Indian dancing in Forest, at Tala & Nritya.
Don’t deny yourself the pleasure if you’ve ever wanted to replicate the hip hop, streetdance, breakdance and ragga moves seen in dance music videos – and incorporate a bit of locking, popping and breaking made popular by dance crews in 1970s USA. Head on over to the Move Zone Dance Crew. Studio Vibes’ vast offering includes ghetto and commercial hip hop.
Unleash your inner queen like 1970s pioneers Crystal Labeija and Paris Dupree or sashay like Naomi Campbell ballroom-style – a series of drop-in workshops with Steffi Mizrahi and Lasseindra Ninja, until next summer will give you all the Vogue femme and runway skills you need. Bring your own heels and attitude. Wednesday nights at Zinnema.
Tango: sleek, sexy, and a staple class-filler. You can feel the passion at the heart of this Argentinian dance and it’s not difficult to get the hang of. Learn it at Tango Factory and Nosotros Tango Club.
Kizomba, the Angolan word for party, describes both the dance and music. Also dubbed African tango, it’s slow, sensual and rhythmic, danced to the beat of the heart. Experience it on Friday nights at Fred Academy.
Pronounced foh-ho and with its origins in northeastern Brazil, the staple elements of upbeat, addictive Forró music are the triangle, drum and accordion. Couples often dance barefoot, with heads and hips touching, spinning and skipping in a close embrace. Catch it on Monday nights at Fred Academy.
Starting off as highly improvisational and spontaneous in African American communities in the 19th century, the rhythmic roots of jazz dance can be traced all the way back to slavery. Affected by so many other styles on its way to the 21st century, it’s leapy, jerky, syncopated and highenergy. Check it out at the Jazz Dance Studio.
Pole dancing was once considered risqué, performed in front of a paying clientele of mostly men looking for titillation. But with its roots in acrobatics and gymnastics, it has transcended to being recognised as an international sport practised in 80 countries and surged in popularity. Take it up at Pole Dance Belgium.
Makuta, palo and yuka AfroCuban dance are rooted in religious expression with trance-inducing drum rhythms and chants that originate from the Bantu religion of Central Africa. Fast and furious, they’re possibly the most energetic of Afro-Cuban dances. Learn them at Camina Dance School.
Highly popular in Brussels and originating in 1970s New York, Latin-influenced salsa New York style is all about hips and patterns of footwork that will make you feel like you’re flying. Try it at Salsa Brussels, or the even faster Cuban style at Camina Dance School.
Bachata originated in the rural neighbourhoods of Dominican Republic, from music similar to Cuban Bolero. Danced to a 4/4 beat it’s as sexy as salsa but perhaps slightly easier to master. Have a go at Salsa Brussels.
Have fun strengthening those stomach muscles and learning to gyrate to centuries-old fertility dances at a bellydance class. There’s also modern oriental fusion, with fans and veils, at the Lou Pradas Dance Academy.
This article first appeared in The Bulletin autumn 2018