Dancing holidays guide

Dancing holidays are a wonderful way to indulge and develop your passion, be it for salsa, tango or flamenco. You may already be an experienced amateur dancer hoping to sharpen your technique with the help of expert instructors, or you might be an enthusiastic beginner looking to start a new hobby. But there is another fantastic benefit to taking a dancing holiday, which is that they also promise a fun and authentic way to immerse yourself in local culture.
Dancing is a form of language, where gaining fluency can be both challenging and immensely fun. And like many languages it can sometimes be tricky to untangle a dance’s actual roots.
Ideal for solo travellers as well as couples or groups of friends, relaxed but constructive workshops where everyone is accompanied by a professional partner introduce you to the origins and techniques of famous dances, and explore how they fit in with local culture. And, in countries such as Cuba and Colombia, lessons can also be combined with exciting evenings out to popular nightspots where you can show off your moves. Find out more in our dancing holidays guide.

What do dancing holidays entail?

There are many different destinations where you can enjoy a dancing holiday, and of course they will usually have a strong connection with a particular type of dance. For instance you might head to Cuba, thought to be where salsa first developed, or to Cali in Colombia, the ‘World Capital of Salsa’. You might learn flamenco in Andalucia, the region where this folkloric dance first developed, tangle with the tango in Buenos Aires, or throw yourself into contemporary dance under the practiced eye of a professional tutor in Puglia, Italy. In some cases, a holiday will offer the flexibility to try different but related styles of dance, such as the rumba or cha-cha-cha in Cuba.

Do I need experience?

All experience levels can be catered for, and with salsa or tango you will be paired with a local dancer as a partner, able to adapt to your own experience level and help bring out your abilities. Certainly though it won’t hurt to have a few lessons at home before leaving, either, to learn the absolute basics or brush up on some long-dormant moves. And of course if you can speak some of the local lingo, even just a few phrases, that’s going to be very helpful too. Ages can range from people in their 20s to their 70s because rhythm doesn’t care how old you are.

Where will I be staying?

Depending on the country you’re visiting, you might be accommodated in a small, locally owned hostel, in shared student accommodation or, in Cuba and Buenos Aires, you may be staying with local families in their own homes. Cuba’s casas particulares offer a famously immersive experience, which many people find to be a major highlight of their stays.

Our top Dancing Holiday

Cuba salsa dance holiday

Cuba salsa dance holiday

Learn to salsa with the pros in Santiago de Cuba, with tuition, day trips and nights out included

From £1560 15 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2019: 2 Jul, 16 Jul, 7 Nov, 19 Dec
2020: 12 Mar, 2 Apr
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Dancing or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

What should I bring with me?

The right shoes are essential of course. If you already dance at home you’ll no doubt have a preferred pair, but if you’re a beginner than you will want flat, comfortable shoes that don’t grip, so that the soles can turn and slide easily. You might also want to bring a jazzier pair for evenings out. Bring lightweight clothing such as leggings, comfy shorts or tracksuit bottoms as workshops can be quite warm work, especially in places such as Cuba, Granada and Cali. Forget Strictly sequins – think more gym clothing. Dance lessons are an aerobic workout, so avoid fussy frills, jangly jewellery and anything that could get untied, tangled or caught up mid-spin. For the same reason, contact lenses tend to be preferable to glasses, if you have them; stray elbows can knock spectacles.
If you don’t have good pockets, it’s a good idea to bring some kind of money belt or even a small bumbag to keep cash and cards safe while out dancing at night; a handbag just isn’t going to work. And lastly, in Cuba in particular it can be difficult to get hold of some items, so think about bringing along toiletries, basic medicines such as Paracetamol or quality secondhand clothing that you can either give as gifts to your hosts and instructors, or leave behind.

Best time to go

Most dancing holidays are tailor made, offering plenty of flexibility with departure dates. Some are small group trips however (20 maximum in Puglia, 10 to 12 in Cuba), with selected travel dates available throughout the year. You may want your trip to coincide with major dance events, such as the World Salsa Festival in Cali in September. In Cuba you have the the Festival de la Trova in March or the Festival del Caribe and Carnival in July, while Spain’s Granada Tango Festival is in March.

Other activities

You can expect to be in lessons for around two to three hours each day, usually in the mornings or the afternoons. Outside of these you’ll have plenty of time to explore the history and culture of the places you’re visiting. You could also combine your dancing with other activities, such as learning Spanish in Granada, or practicing percussion skills in Cuba.
Written by Rob Perkins
Photo credits: [Page banner: amaral] [Traditional dress: Sydney Rae] [Dancing lesson: Caledonia Worldwide]
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