Latin Beat. Who doesn’t love it!
When you are listening to Latin music your body naturally wants to move to it. Latin music has great melody and rhythm which can remind you of warm, summer vacation you took to a Latin country or makes you want to take vacation to Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, etc.
There are many Latin American dances you can learn so you can dance to your favorite kind of Latin music. The most popular are Merengue, Salsa, Bachata, Cha-Cha-Cha, and Cumbia. All these dances have one main characteristic in common — Cuban hip motion, which can be achieved by bending and straightening the knees.
The easiest one to learn is Merengue. In this dance you practically march to the music executing patterns on 4 beats. This is a perfect dance to learn and practice your Cuban hip movement. With each step you take in Merengue you achieve Cuban hip motion by bending and straightening your knees and by shifting your weight with each step. At the same time your shoulders remain leveled. You dance with your partner usually in a closed position. You can dance lots of patterns including wraps, tunnels, etc. It is fun, easy dance and a great hip workout! Some of the most known Merengue artists are: Juan Luis Guerra, Kinito Mendez, Sergio Vargas
Bachata, which as well as Merengue comes from Dominican Republic, is another dance played in Latin parties. This style of dance requires mostly being in close position with the partner. It is a 4 step beat dance, where you step on count of 1, 2 and 3 and you tap or “pop” your hip on the fourth beat. “Pop” is executed by lifting your hip. This dance started to get popular about 2000 where it started to spread from Dominican Republic to North America and Europe. It’s constantly evolving and so far branched out to Bachatango & BachaBallrom.
Some of modern Bachata singers and groups are: Aventura, Monchy y Alexandra, Frank Reyes. The early founders of Bachata are Edilo Paredes, Ramon Cordero, Marino Perez
One of the most popular Latin social dances is Salsa. Having originated in Cuba, with African influence, Salsa evolved later with influence from Puerto Rico and Colombia. Like the Mexican salsa sauce, Salsa dance is a mixture of many dance styles and cultures. As a result of such mixture there are several styles of Salsa. The most popular are La Style Salsa (On1), New York Style Salsa (on2), Cuban Style Salsa and Colombian Salsa.
Basic step of salsa has an 8 count – where you step on 123 and 567, but on counts 4 & 8 you pause, move your hips or tap. What you do on count 4 and 8 is personal choice. Sometimes you will feel that tap fits perfectly and sometimes you can just pause to emphases the pattern you are executing. So there is room for your creativity.
LA Style Salsa (On1) was named after the place where was developed – in Los Angeles by Mexican Vazquez brothers. (Francisco, Johnny, Luis).
As describe above, in Salsa you take steps on 123 and 567 and pause on 4 & 8. (On1) means that man steps forward (breaks forward) on count 1 and consequently will break on 5.
While in another school developed by Eddie Torres — New York Style Salsa (On2) — the timing of the steps is the same as in On1 but the breaks (change of direction) happen on the 2nd and 6th beat.
Salsa dance is characterized by Cuban hip movement which as earlier described is achieved by bending and straightening the knees. The upper body should stay leveled (no bouncing). Dance is performed in open and closed position and involves lots of great fun patterns including turns, hammerlocks, and copas. There are no strict rules and you can add your own flavor to the dance.
Main characteristic of Cuban Style salsa is that leader and follower circle around each other using the same 8 beat count.
Another popular form of Cuban Salsa is Rueda de Casino (Casino Wheel) which was found in Havana in 1950. Dance is performed in a circle by paired dancers who are frequently, simultaneously swapping between each other when the leader of the group calls the moves.
Columbian Style Salsa which comes from Colombian City of Cali has one major difference from salsa described above — fast footwork. During dancing emphasis is placed on fancy fast footwork while upper body stays still. It involves lots of acrobatic tricks.
Salsa became very popular style danced all over the world. Salsa Congresses are organized almost every week in some city somewhere in the world.
Salsa is very energetic, fun dance. Dancing salsa has great side effect — great workout, meeting new people, having blast to great salsa music!
So… Come & learn Salsa with us!
Cha- Cha- Cha
It is slower dance then salsa with the 4/4. The fourth beat is split in two which results in count – 2, 3- 4 & 1 or 2, 3 cha- cha-cha. Dance starts by stepping on the 2 beat.
Cumbia originated in Columbia is one of the most common dance forms in Latin America.
The basic rhythm structure is 4/4. Even though Salsa is taking world by storm there are lots of Latin Clubs where Cumbia is still one of the most danced forms by Latin American people.