Latin Dances

As the name suggests, Latin dances are indigenous to Latin America. They come in several different types,
most of which have developed significantly over the years – some of the ballroom and others folk dances.
The assimilation between Latin America and different populations from different countries has been the
primary factor contributing to this development. If you are interested in learning a few moves to upgrade
your dance skills or are simply a fanatic, you are in the right place. In this article, we’ll look at the seven
most popular Latin dances.

#1. Bachata


Bachata can be traced back to the Dominican Republic. The name is derived from the fact that the dance is
usually played along with Bachata music. The music is recognized by a rhythm of 3 beats with a break,
which is what the dance reflects. It features a 3-step with Cuban hips, and the better part of the dance
movement involves the waist down while numbing most of the upper body. Traditionally, the Bachata dance
was practiced in a square, but western influences have since simplified it.

#2. Cha Cha Cha


This is a relatively modern dance style, considering that it was invented in the 1950s. It is of Cuban Latin
decent and is played along music with a syncopated 4th beat. This only means that instead of starting on
the first beat, the dance starts in the second. The dance involves shuffling your feet while moving, which is
where the name “Cha Cha Cha” was born. To start the dance, the lead waits for the second beat, and then
brings his left foot forward, shifting his weight to the right foot on the 3rd beat. The next bar begins with a
shuffle along the syncopation, for instance, 4-&-1. The same process repeats until the dance ends. You can
dance while facing your partner, side-to-side, or a blend of the two.

#3. Merengue


This is a Dominican dance that is derived from the Merengue music. The dance is played in a closed position
and is mostly famous for its sophisticated choreography of twists & turns. While on the dance floor, you
and your partner’s hands should form into conjoined shapes. The Merengue is believed to originate from
the Haitian Merengue. When it comes to social dancing, the traditional style is incorporated into the Cuban

#4. Mambo


Mambo is a Cuban dance whose roots go all the way back to the 1930s. The dance is usually learned as
“feeling-the-music”. Mambo dancing can be split into two categories: modern Mambo and traditional
Mambo. The traditional dance style follows the rhythm of Mambo music, while the modern version has been
streamlined over the years until it no longer fits with Mambo music, but is rather more adaptable to Salsa.

#5. Rumba


The name “Rumba” was stolen from the word “Rumbo”, which just means party. The Rumba is therefore
supposed to be a fun dance. It is a fusion of African and Cuban dance styles but has evolved over the
years to incorporate the Flamenco Rumba and Catalan Rumba. No one really knows how the dance came
about, as different mysterious accounts exist. The most accepted theory is that the dance originated from
African natives being transported as slaves, after which it spread among the local population through

#6. Salsa


This is an Afro-Cuban dance as well, which is usually performed to the tune of Salsa music but can,
however, work with most tropical music. It is probably the most popular dance style in Latin America and
several other countries as far as social events are concerned. In fact, it is more of an international dance
style today, which can be found in many metropolitan cities, especially during Salsa festivals.

#7. Samba


You are probably familiar with the Samba as is usually associated with Brazil football. The dance actually
originated from African music and then evolved into a carnival dance. Samba music has a traditional rhythm,
several layers of percussive instruments hidden by choral singing and other instruments. Recently, the
music has become influenced and integrated with other genres like funk and jazz, with the former bringing
in electric instruments and bass guitars, and the latter incorporating brass instruments like the trombone.