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Using Dance to Connect With Locals
On a trip to Austria in 2013, I took a drop-in waltz class at the Rueff Dance School in downtown Vienna.
I only paid for an hour, so I was limited to the basic steps, but even so, it was thrilling after just 15 minutes to actually be twirling around the floor in the arms of an Austrian for whom this dance was second nature, my instructor, Henry Karesh.
Like many Viennese, Mr. Karesh has been waltzing since childhood and knows all the variations that turn a simple three-step into something a lot more sophisticated, none of which I did that day.
But as he gently steered me around the polished wood floor in the dance studio, I was reminded that more than any other travel activity, dance connects visitor to local in a language that needs no words.
“Dancing with people breaks down barriers, and it doesn’t happen in another way,” said Mickela Mallozzi, a dance tour director who is also the host of the web and television series “Bare Feet.” “You make a connection physically. It is intimate, in an appropriate way.”