Dubai Dance Festival

10 reasons to visit dance extravaganza

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Now in its fourth year, Dubai International Dance Festival welcomes dozens of international performers to the city during the interactive, weekend event.

From bellydancing and ballet to hip hop and salsa, there are hundreds of workshops, performances and parties happening across Dubai on June 2-3. Here’s our pick of what to do.

The performances

Dubai Dance Schools Exhibition
See the best of the best at this local show. From the Ballet Centre to the Filipino Dance Club, all the city’s dance schools are involved, ensuring a diverse performance.
Dhs175. 6.30pm, Thursday 2 and Friday 3, First Group Theatre, Madinat Jumeirah

Inspector Habibi & Mr Khalas: The Dance Detectives Live Show
This ‘dance musical’ will showcase some of the international talent in town for the weekend. Set in Dubai, it follows two dancing detectives hunting out a missing world-champion dancer. Expect plenty of costume changes.
Dhs175. 8.30pm, Thursday 2 and Friday 3, First Group Theatre, Madinat Jumeirah


The workshops

On Friday 3, pay Dhs150 and you can attend a day of workshops at Dubai Marine Beach Resort in everything from tango to house music (or you can dip in and out of the 16 sessions as you please). Here are our top picks.

Bellydancing
Hosted by Dareen from Belarus, this surprisingly hard dance uses muscles you didn’t know existed and takes some serious skill.
11.50am-12.35pm, Dance Hall

Try it in Dubai: Nora Dance Group teaches bellydancing on Sundays and Tuesdays at 10.30am at Ductac, Mall of the Emirates, and on Wednesdays at 6.30pm at Dubai Marina Mall.
Dhs65 per class; www.noradancegroup.com (050 875 0111)

Zouk
This hip-hop dance originated in the French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, giving it a Caribbean flavour. Assim and Dorsi from Dubai will put you through your paces.
12.40pm-1.25pm, Music Hall

Try it in Dubai: Zouk Dubai holds dance parties/classes in Savage Garden bar at the Capitol Hotel in Satwa every Sunday. Beginners can learn from 7.30pm-8.30pm, while those with more experience take over at 9pm.
Dhs40 per hour. www.zouk-dubai.com

Reggaeton
Learning this provocative, hip-swaying club dance will give you some serious street cred in Dubai’s nightclubs. Taiti and Cristel from Curacao and Holland host the class.
1.30pm-2.15pm, Music Hall

Try it in Dubai: While there are no specific reggaeton classes in the UAE, Zumba aerobics classes usually involve about 20 minutes of squat-and-shake reggae time. Try the classes at Ductac on Saturdays, Mondays and Thursdays at 7pm. Booking essential.
Dhs50 per class. (055 297 4645)

Hip hop
Established choreographer Walid from France will teach a lesson in the many styles of hip-hop dance. The class is accessible to everyone.
4.50pm-5.35pm, Dance Hall

Try it in Dubai: First International Dance School in Deira takes hip hop seriously and holds classes on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday from 7.30pm.
Dhs800 for 12 classes over four weeks. (04 294 0049)


The parties

Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa will host dance fiestas all weekend.

Warm-up at Malecon, Wednesday 1
This is the night to dine and dance with the artists.
From 10pm. Free for festival card holders; Dhs50 for everyone else

Salsa Party at Taverna, Thursday 2
This night is all about the variations of salsa, including bachata, zouk and cha cha cha. The theme is hats and wigs, so raid that fancy-dress box.
From 10pm. Free for festival card holders, Dhs85 for everyone else

Afro and Latin House Party at Malecon, Friday 3
Likely to be the most fun for those of us who haven’t yet mastered any dance styles. There will also be a salsa party at Taverna on Friday 3.
From 10pm. Free for festival card holders, Dhs85 for everyone else

The Closing Party at Malecon, Saturday 4
The theme tonight is Cuban White, so don some linen pants and a singlet and head here for dinner and dancing.
Dinner at 6pm, followed by dancing until late. Free entry for all

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