The Dancing Culture

First of all, it is good to be back in Barquisimeto. My friends met me at the airport and of course we sat squeezed five people in the back of the car driving to my place. How I love having some sun against my skin again, the loud music on Ruta 4 and eating an empanada on my way to work. Today we are going dancing, finally! In that occasion I though I might share my first experiences with the Venezuelan dancing culture.

At first I was very embarrassed when my friends pulled me out on the dance floor here in Venezuela. There are several reasons for this. First of all because I was sober. In Norway I usually don’t dance in public before I am at least a little tipsy. I think many of my friends back home feel the same way. Second because I can’t dance! At least compared to my Venezuelan friends who made it look so easy. Third because we were the only people in the bar dancing. It felt like everyone in the bar was watching the “Gringa” dance. It took me some weeks before I realized that it doesn’t matter if you know how to dance or not, as long as you have fun. Also, Venezuelans love it when foreigners try to dance. Maybe it is because they think we look funny. Or maybe it is just because they want us to understand how amazing dancing is. I think we are often a little bit too self-centered thinking that everyone is always watching us.

In Norway we mostly dance individually jumping up and down screaming to the music. After some beers we might try something more fancy, but nothing like here. There are a few places in Norway where you can dance like here, but I am talking about in a normal club/bar young people would go to. I have friends at home with good rhythms and I think they would like going out here in Venezuela. As we Norwegians mostly dance in front of each other, Venezuelans dance with each other. And there are many different ways to dance, not just jumping up and down.

I found out pretty fast that Salsa is hard as hell and I think with my Norwegian body I will never be able to learn it. Yes, I have given up already. When they put on Salsa I sit down and watch the people who knows how to do it. What an amazing sight how people makes it seem like the easiest thing in the world. Merengue, on the other hand, is more doable. At least when you have patient friends who doesn’t mind you stepping on their feet, and always making the wrong turns. And then there is Reggeton…

The first time I was at a club I tried not to look uncomfortable when a bunch of strangers basically humped me, like that was the most natural thing in the world! It was unbelievable how comfortable people were with dancing really sexy with everyone. If you dance like that with someone in Norway, it most likely means that you are going to hook up (also a generalization, but we just don’t dance like that with anyone). In Venezuela this is just another way of dancing and it doesn’t have to mean anything else than having fun. I tried my best to dance like the others, but failed when I tried to go ‘down down down’ and could not get up again. I am still laughing at the thought of it. Also, I was exhausted after 30 minutes! I realized that this must be the reason why everyone can eat so much without being really fat because my friends just kept dancing for hours and hours. And when I thought I could not look more stupid they put on Tambores; this drum dance where you have to shake everything you have in a circle until another person takes over your partner. After one song I had muscle cramps all over and had to sit down for an hour.

I am truly amazed how everyone can dance here. Even my friends, who say they cannot dance, believe me they can. Three months have passed and I think my dancing has improved at least a little bit. I am definitely not shy anymore when it comes to dancing and I dance whenever there is a chance, which is basically always here in Venezuela.

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36 Responses to The Dancing Culture

  1. Emily says:

    I enjoy your post so much and Ican wait to read the next one all the time! If you like Venezuela well let me tell you that I want to go to Noruega!!! Keep posting!!! And sorry for my bad english!

  2. Alix says:

    OMG I laughed so hard with this post! It’s really funny to see our dance culture through your perspective hehehe you’re certainly right about the no-matter-how-good-you-dance-only-that-you-have-fun part 🙂 Keep enjoying yourself Martine, you’re doing great by the hears of it 😉 And be really careful while you’re at it…
    Lots of love from a venezuelan in Sweden

  3. LOL: After one song I had muscle cramps all over and had to sit down for an hour.

  4. Linda Jiménez says:

    Gracias, gracias, gracias… Es tan fácil dejarse agotar por la situación, que olvido lo que más amo de mi país. Esas cosas que no haces más que recordarme. Vivo en México desde hace tres años y no miraba atrás por cansancio y angustia. Gracias por recordarme el lado maravilloso de mi Venezuela. Se feliz…

  5. gio says:

    hahaha this is awesome. It’s true, we are dancing people… and we really take it for granted.

  6. Esteban says:

    Awesome,Martine. The way you refer to us, venezuelans is kind of special, it seems like you have got into our skins,and certainly there is no explanation for certain behaviours of us,just live it and deal with it. Good that you are getting to know the venezuelan way! Way to Go!!

  7. Hanoi Reyes says:

    I enjoyed allot how you write… Dance culture is very important in Venezuela and now that I am living in USA is one of the things that I miss more.

  8. I’m available for salsa dance lesons 😉 😀

  9. Jiseru says:

    We can dance if we want to.
    We can leave your friends behind.
    Cause’ your friends don’t dance,
    and if they don’t dance, well they’re
    no friends of mine.

  10. Romelnp says:

    Excelente! Ya quiero seguir leyendo, es bueno sentir lo refrescante de tu punto de vista, y es perfecto leernos el ego un poco cuando aprecian desde otros ojos las cosas buenas y no tan buenas del ser venezolano. Gracias.

  11. mercedesk90 says:

    OMG! I laughed so hard at the “tambores” that I had to catch my breath!

  12. mafe bereciartu says:

    Dance, drink, fun, food. You talk about positive things and I LOVE IT, with everything is going on right now it is really relaxing for me to sit down and read your post, to remember how cool my country is. Keep it going.

    From a barquisimetana to a barquisimetia (LOL) my best wishes to you.

  13. aamg37 says:

    I just finished reading all your posting. I laughed, cried and then laughed some more… You have reminded me, some eloquently, the many good things about my country, my culture and my people. Please continuing blogging, even though that this is so 90’s, but you have got my attention. My highlights were “the personal space”, “punctuality-organization” and “the bus ride”… I just simply couldn’t stop laughing…

  14. Debo decirte y en completo español para que lo practiques, que eres una mujer de admirar, me he reído muchísimo con los dos post que he leído porque nos describes mejor de lo que cualquier venezolano podría hacerlo, espero sigas disfrutando de esta experiencia…and by the way, I live in Barqto so if you need something just let me know (:

  15. Dana Pernia says:

    I LOVE YOUR BLOG CHAMA!!! de alguna manera o otra capturaste la verdadera esencia del venezolano. you have a way with words. me hiciste enamorarme (again) de mipaíss y de mi cultura. como una buena venezolana me ofrezco para cualquier cosa que necesites!! y me encantaria seguir leyendote! mucho exito en Venezuela, es ahora, tanto mi país, como el tuyo.

  16. María Salomé says:

    Creo que con esta ya es la 3ra vez que leo, vale recalcar, TODO tu blog jaja. Como otra de las tantas venezolanas en el exterior, vivo añorando mi país y su gente. Tus escritos me hacen recordar lo bonito de Venezuela en medio del caos, me he reído como nunca e incluso me has sacado unas lagrimitas (soy una llorona, lo se jaja). Lo comparti con mi hermana alemana de intercambio y también disfruto mucho leyendo, y espero que al igual que ella, termines enamorandote de ese hermoso país, mi país y ahora tuyo también! Disfruta cada día, cada experiencia como lo estas haciendo, de forma positiva. Y si tienes oportunidad, a pesar de lo caro, cómprate un viajecito a La Gran Sabana, que son caros pero valen la pena ya que el lugar simplemente es mágico, o Los Roques quizás si eres más de playa. Sino, entonces disfruta de las cosas pequeñas, los conciertos de música clásica con la orquesta en el rectorado de la UCLA (los jueves en la tarde, en la carrera 19 con calle 8 creo), la dulcería en Santa Rosa, los achantes en casa de los panas, las empanadas de la calle 17 con carrera 23, los pastelitos de Lauro en la carrera 24 entre calles 19 y 20, los pepitos de la botella en la avenida libertador (no viviste en Barquisimeto sino comes en esos 3 lugares), los helados de mi gran barquilla (LAS MERENGADAS DE OREO!) y una lista interminable de cosas que puedes hacer en mi querido Barqusimeto. Pero por sobre todo, SIGUE ESCRIBIENDO! Tus post siempre dibujan una sonrisa en mi cara. Y como buena venezolana, me ofrezco para cualquier cosa que necesites en estos meses que te quedan 🙂 Un abrazo a pesar de que no te conozco! (Oh los venezolanos y su falta de espacio personal jaja).

    • Valentina Acuna Conejero says:

      Iba escribir algo pero mi comentario seria redundante despues del tuyo jajaja Asi que RT ❤

  17. Lore says:

    This post is amazing! I laughed a lot! Despite the bad things in the country, I’m amazed about how you capture our essence and how you see and enjoy the good things. Enjoy my beautiful country! 🙂

  18. Patri says:

    Although filled with stereotypes, I hate to admit that I laugh so hard when I read your posts. I am a Venezuelan living in NY since 2005 who experienced some of that culture shock the other way around when I moved here, having people telling me that I was “too touchy”, hahaha. I appreciate you leaving out the political conversation because as you said, you know nothing about how/when/why we got where we are. Plus there is enough of that in the media and very little of what you are writing that is very refreshing to read something different about Venezuela. Good luck the rest of the time you have there, keep enjoying and learning from this experience and be safe!

  19. jeroen candel says:

    Hi Martine congrars with this blog. You capture this beautiful chaotic and slightly crazy culture very well. Never a dull moment! Keep writing please.

  20. Hermes says:

    don’t give up with Salsa!!!! you will get there

  21. Alejandra GT says:

    As it happens whenever I read your posts, I laughed till tears. It’s so interesting to see ourselves through the eyes of a foreign who wants to be one of us!! 🙂 Please keep on enjoying your Venezuelan experience and letting us know how it goes!
    By the way, I’d like to share your blog with my Advanced English students, Would you mind if I do so? Please let me know (Who knows, we might arrange you coming to talk to them in an special class!!!)

  22. Reading you is soooo nice, i want more posts… Keep it up….

  23. Increible, I read all, are you now in Venezuela ? I have a friend living in Norway, she is living the “other” story 😀

  24. Ricardo Lobo says:

    Por que no has escrito mas??? Sera que le paso algo?? No seria extrano que a esta pobre persona la hayan asesinado pensando que era un millonario turista!!! Espero que estes bien a pesar de que te metiste en uno de los paises mas peligrosos del mundo ademas gobernado por malandros!!!

  25. jose says:

    Por favor escribe algo mas… me gusta mucho leer tu blog…

  26. Annaly says:

    You are hilarious! I adore the way you write every single detail about your experience here. We are just like that: wild and free. That, sometimes can be a problem for us in the rest of the world. I’m glad that you are so open minded to accept us and embrace our culture even though it could be really hard for you. You nail it girl! Have fun and take care. Smile all the time. Thanks for believe in this beautiful side of our Venezuela.

  27. Magda Sanchez says:

    I love your Blog Martin! It was very helpful for me to explain other about Venezuelan people specially to my English teacher. Just Thank you a lot.

  28. maviroquai says:

    No sé si sabes castellano. Bueno espero no tengas problemas en leer. Acabo de leer algunos de tus post y me devolviste la sonrisa, me reí un montón. Hoy pase el día algo amargada, y justamente por Venezuela y tanta realidad. No soy la Venezolana que sabe bailar, no amo las arepas, no se hacen fiestas en casa, y procuro no ser una infractora. Suelo llegar tarde si, no sé cómo pasa, me puedo despertar muy temprano para que me de tiempo y al final casi siempre me retraso, es una locura incomprensible, como trabajé con turismo unos meses, me di cuenta que soy del tipo que si, me agrada ayudar a la gente a que sepa donde comer, ir etc.. especialmente extranjeros, por estar tan ajenos a nuestra realidad y costumbres. Quería escribirte por el privado para dejarte mis datos, pero no supe como hacerlo. Si gustas conocer a alguien mas en Barquisimeto, estoy a la orden. y puedes ponerte en contacto conmigo.

  29. Maria Gabriela says:

    Congrats on your blog! I think is a great thing to read because it makes us see how foreigners perceive our culture and also makes us realize than despite our issues, we are just a happy culture which always enjoy and joke around even in the worst scenarios and for that, we should appreciate and love our country much more!

    here is the link of a stand up comedy of a well-known Venezuelan comedian which is about a Venezuelan person that goes to heaven! is hilarious! enjoy it!!

    Enjoy to the fullest! dont forget to go to los roques, la gran sabana, salto angel, etc etc!!!!!

  30. Hey you! My brother is your fan!!! The last weekend I saw you at Tucacas, and when I told to him that I saw you almost dies! hehehehe… He’s a writer, and lives here in Barquisimeto and really really wants to know you. How can he to get an interview from you? I hope your positive answer 😉

  31. José Revilla says:

    in Venezuela if you know not dance, we teach you!!!!! jajajaja you should learn to dance “Tambores”

  32. Daviana Escar says:

    Your blog is incredible good!! You made me laugh so much!!! But also is really a mirror of how Venezuelans are, you couldn’t have explained better… In all of your post. Congratulations!!!!

  33. Lucia says:

    Εst bastante bien ell blog. Ciеrtos post no mme convencen demasiado,
    en cualqսier caso, la mayora estn bien.

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