Portuguese folk dance, also called Ranchos Folclóricos is an integral part of Portuguese culture and Portuguese traditions and celebrations.
Portugal is a beautiful country and a popular tourist destination in Europe known for its cuisine, architecture, culture, music and dance.
With regards to Portuguese dances, there are a number of popular Portuguese traditional dance styles originating from various parts of Portugal’s rural countryside and coastal towns.
Portuguese traditional music like Fado and Pimba play an important part in these Portuguese traditional dances.
Portuguese folk dances include Vira, Chula, Fandango, Chotiça or xoutiça, Two Steps Waltz or Bato pé, Corridinho, Vira, Vira de Cruz, Vira Solto, Vira de Macieira, Bailarico, Malhão, Vareira, Maneio, Marcha, Ciranda, Sapatinho, Tau-Tau, Zé que Fumas, Ó Ti Taritatu, O Pedreiro and Regadinho.
Some examples of traditional Portuguese dances are the Vira, Chula, Fandango, Chotiça or xoutiça, Two Steps Waltz or Bato pé, Corridinho, Vira, Vira de Cruz, Vira Solto, Vira de Macieira, Bailarico, Malho, Vareira, Maneio, Marcha, Ciranda, Sapatinho, Tau-Tau, Zé que Fumas, Ti Tarit.
Checkout the list of ‘5 most popular Portuguese traditional dances’ and a bonus at the end of the post.
Traditional Dance No 1: Vira Dance
Vira dance is one of the most popular Portuguese folk dances similar to the “Waltz” in terms of the three step rhythm but much faster. ‘Vira dance’ actually translates into ‘turn dance’ english.
This form of dance is said to have originated from a region called Minho located in North Portugal.
Furthermore, vira dance is primarily performed by “couples” who dance to the rhythm of the music without holding hands. Also sometimes women may dance solo. In addition, before dancing begins the couples arrange themselves in a circle to face each other.
Traditional Dance No 2: Chula Dance
The Chula is yet another well-liked traditional Portuguese dance that is similar to the Vira in style.
The ‘Chula dance’ form is extremely popular in a region called “Douro” located in North Portugal.
Furthermore, chula dance is mainly performed by “couples” around a circle to the rhythm of the accompanying music by “stomping” their feet and “clicking” their hands.
In addition, the music for this dance is produced by a piano, a guitar, an accordion, and also includes singing.
Traditional Dance No 3: Corridinho Dance
Considered to be extremely popular in Algarve the southernmost region in Portugal, is a traditional Portuguese dance style known as Corridinho.
Couples participate in the corridinho dance, which is performed in two circles with the “males” on the outside and the “females” inside.
They then dance to the “fast” rhythm of the music by “stomping” their feet, and at the same time change directions within the circle.
Traditional Dance No 4: Malhao Dance
Malhao is a traditional dance style popular in the historical province of Portugal called “Estremadura” which is located in the westernmost part of Portugal along the Atlantic ocean.
Furthermore, the performers in the ‘malhao dance’ mainly dance around a “circle”. The music usually played for this dance is accompanied by a song whose first line is “Malhão, malhão, o malhão do norte” which when translated means “Winnower, winnower, o winnower of the North”.
The costumes used by the performer in ‘malhao dance’ are less colorful than those used in other forms.
Traditional Dance No 5: Fandango Dance
Fandango is another Portuguese traditional dance form which has its origins in Spain.
Furthermore, in this dance generally two male performers essentially face one another and dance to the rhythm of music by using “tap dancing” techniques.
Although, ‘fandango dance’ is not the most popular dance form in the Portuguese culture, it is performed during certain religious events as well as during auspicious occasions such as Christmas.
Bonus: Traditional Dance No 6: Chotiça Or Xoutiça Or Choke (A Variation Of Schottische)
Chotiça or xoutiça folk dance is a form of Schottische dance which is a partnered country dance said to have originated in Bohemia in Germany.
Various other forms of Schottische are found across the globe such as jenkka in Finland, chamamé in Argentina, reinlender in Norway, xote in Brazil, chotis in Spain, schottis in Denmark, and some others in France, Italy, Sweden, Mexico and United States.
It involves one of the most fundamental dance steps which is a combination of a polka step and a circular hop. Couples in rotate in a circle holding and embracing all throughout never switching pairs.