Colombians have an extraordinary ability to dance. They can twirl their hips in a profound fashion, as if they have been electrified, flex their torsos like a snake, and shake their shoulders as if they haven’t got collar bones. I have personally attempted a Mapalé at the carnival. Mapalé is a Colombian dance style with tribal influence. And I tell you it’s harder to loosen up your shoulders neck and torsos than it looks!

I have learnt that acquiring the ability to dance is the entry ticket to be called a ‘Colombian’. It’s almost as if you’re not qualified to be a national if you haven’t got the ability to gyrate your hips. It’s like the cultural test to acquire a citizenship, the passport of acceptance, and the path to social integration!

And this innate ability is not only confined to women – who normally display a great ability to move with music. Colombian men in fact dance amazingly well. That’s likely because they have to dance well in order to take a fair share of the courtship scene. The way they move their feet may look like they can tie their legs into a knot any time. They throw their ladies from one side to another, including all sorts of elaborate twists and turns, in matters of seconds. But their hands are steady; their feet, sturdy. And if you’ve eaten too much and feel queasy they will always be able to save you from falling!

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