Ethiopia - a land where the cradle of Christianity, the birth of the coffee bean, and some of the best dancing I have ever seen come together.

If...

there is one nation that knows how to dance (apart from maybe the Brazilians…and the Argentinians) it is the Ethiopians. Not only that but these are some of the best looking people on earth - the result of a cross between a Semitic and ancient Hamitic civilisation that as Devla Murphy says in her inspiring travelogue 'In Ethiopia with a Mule: 'has produced a race of outstandingly handsome men and beautiful women'. They really are jaw-droppingly gorgeous; elegant, slender and smiling and when dancing, you can't but stand and stare. Shoulder jerks and head rolls are melded seamlessly together to create a unique style of movement that somehow appears fluid whilst us 'farenjis' barely come close in trying to mimic this. In fact it doesn't bear watching - but it is worth trying if only to realise how difficult and exhausting it is, and a cup of tej normally helps.

From...

the local peasant woman to the city businessman every Ethiopian knows how to dance and whatever their size and shape, they have a built in ability for flexibility and finesse. And at every given opportunity they will dance for Ethiopians have a strong cultural music tradition and dancing is an important part of any festival (of which there is one practically every other day during the months of December and January). There is a wonderful restaurant in Addis called Habesha 2000 where every night talented singers come from all over to perform with the fantastic dance troupe Habesha 2000 Band - in fact they are so good they came over to the UK last year to support the legendary Ethiopian blues jazz musician Abel Mulugeta at the Barbican for a memorable night. So head to Addis - and catch them when you can.