Austria’s foreign minister has hailed the merits of “dancing diplomacy,” less than two weeks after she swayed with Vladimir Putin at her wedding – but she’s not the only politician known to put on her dancing shoes.
“Diplomacy is about much more than presenting each other with policy notes… a dance doesn’t have any political implications, whether I dance with [British Foreign Secretary] Jeremy [Hunt] or anyone else,” Karin Kneissl said at a press conference on Friday, as quoted by AFP.
While her comments referenced a night of samba and bossa nova with her British, Greek, Polish, and Romanian counterparts at an EU foreign ministers’ meeting on Thursday, “dancing diplomacy” is also something that she recently practiced at her own wedding, sharing a dance with Putin during the celebration.
But Kneissl isn’t the only politician to enjoy a good boogie. Here are six times that politicians lightened up and let themselves get lost in the music.
1. Theresa May’s ‘robotic’ African dance
When British Prime Minister Theresa May visited a school in South Africa last week, she received an A+ in awkwardness and a D- in dancing – and Twitter didn’t hold back in letting her know that.
Just days later, when May visited Kenya and met with a group of scouts, she tried her darnedest to loosen up and share a dance with the young men. The result was awkward, to say the least.
2. Obama did it better
May wasn’t the first head of state to boogie in Kenya – but former US president Barack Obama was a bit looser and more natural when he hit the dance floor.
3. BoJo twirled by Peruvian teacher
Before he resigned as British foreign secretary, Boris Johnson took a little trip to Peru, dancing with a school teacher and even allowing her to twirl him. In true BoJo fashion, he wasn’t the most graceful.
4. Trudeau forgets he’s Canadian for a minute
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was mocked tirelessly throughout his February trip to India, from his bright outfits to his spontaneous decision to attempt to dance the Bhangra on stage. The reaction wasn’t purely Canadian, as some Indians weren’t too impressed with Trudeau’s apparent obsession with Bollywood stereotypes.
5. Trump brings new meaning to ‘awkward’
When US President Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia, he awkwardly took part in a welcoming sword dance. The tradition, which stems from ancient tribal war customs, fittingly came in the wake of a multi-billion-dollar arms deal signed in Riyadh.
6. Hillary Clinton dances away her campaign
When Hillary Clinton was campaigning in New York, she tried to show her lighter side by dancing with local politicians on stage. It was weird.
7. Zakharova boogies to Serbian trumpets
Trumpet music may not be the most popular in the mainstream music scene, but Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova seemed to enjoy the sound at a festival in Serbia, showing off some of her dance moves.
But that was no match for Zakharova’s performance in 2016, when she pulled off her own rendition of the traditional Kalinka dance at the Russia-ASEAN summit in Sochi. The official, who was fulfilling her bet, sparked a minor controversy when dance experts said it didn’t look like Kalinka at all.
When asked about Zakharova’s performance, her boss – Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov – said he’s “not a dancer” himself. But that didn’t stop him from cheekily promising to teach Rex Tillerson to dance the tango after the former US secretary of state said there was no point dancing the diplomatic tango with Lavrov, as his sole choreographer was Vladimir Putin. He later stated that the US chose an “individual breakdance” over a paired tango.
So, the next time you think politics is all about draft legislation and contentious elections, just remind yourself that politicians do have a lighter, human side – even if it turns out to be clumsy and cringeworthy.
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