Cultural Dance Festivals Around the World

There are thousands of cultural dance festivals around the world offering a variety of performance from contemporary to classical and traditional dance.

Americas, Asia, Culture & History, Europe

Dance like nobody is watching – well, there’s little chance of that happening in today’s modern world with Instagram and selfie sticks. There are thousands of cultural dance festivals around the world offering such a variety of performance from contemporary to classical and traditional dance that is difficult to know where to start.

Cultural Dance Festivals around the World

How about some traditional dance, such as whip fighting in the Indonesian Island of Flores? Or if that is not your ticket, then perhaps Moldovan folk dancing is more your scene, washed down with copious amounts of wine, naturally.

Abbots Bromley Horn Dance
Abbots Bromley Horn Dance

Or you could pop along to Staffordshire, in the UK, to see its annual horn dance. Well, it’s one up on Morris dancing at any rate.

At the heart of many festival around the world there is a traditional dance element, so whether you fancy the Durga Puja or Onam festivals in India or the Gentse Feesten in Belgium, you are bound to find somewhere to get your feet tapping. That urge to tap your feet is perhaps nowhere else as strong as at the Feria de Cali or Cali Fair in Colombia where one of South America’s most important salsa festivals takes place every year.

In particular Asia, the world’s largest and most populous continent, has a lot to offer in terms of cultural dance, from the Bon Odori dances during the Sapporo Summer Festival in Japan and the Nowruz or Persian New Year celebrations across Central Asia, to professional performances at the Hong Arts Festival or traditional dances during Southeast Asia’s festivals such as the Candle Festival and Chiang Mai Flower Festival in Thailand, or the Bali Arts Festival in Indonesia and the George Town Festival in Penang, Malaysia.

If you’re looking for something more spiritual, then you must certainly check out the beauty and mystique of the Konya Whirling Dervishes in Turkey, or even the trance-like dances during the Voodoo Festival in Benin.

Contemporary Dance

Fancy more contemporary dance. Once more the world is full of contemporary dance performances and festivals.

Zurich Tanzt

One highlight of the year is the Zurich Tanzt when the Swiss city explodes into life for a festival with a very strong moral compass. Or there is the Malta Festival in Poznan, which has nothing to do with the Mediterranean country, but rather the lake just outside the Polish city where the original festival was founded.


And, of course, if you want to really party the night away, where better to celebrate than at a carnival.

Notting Hill Carnival
Notting Hill Carnival

The Rio Carnival might be the most famous in the world, but if you want to avoid the massed crowds then perhaps the Trinidad Carnival is more your scene, while the joyous cumbia music at the Barranquilla Carnival in Colombia  is simply irresistible. And naturally there is the Notting Hill Carnival at the end of August in the UK’s capital, London.

Whichever you choose prepare for lots of fun and little sleep.

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Travel Begins at 40

Travel Begins at 40 Editor

Travel articles, news, special offers, festivals and events from the Travel Begins at 40 Editorial team and our global network of travel industry contributors.

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