Known for its sensual hip action and sexy flair, Latin dance is gaining popularity on dance floors everywhere. Movies about Latin dancing, ones that portray the beauty of the art of Latin dancing, seem to be favorites among dancers and non-dancers alike. Besides being a staple in the ballroom, many Latin dances are also being taken to country-western dance floors. Learning Latin dances is fairly easy, as most of the dances are made up of the same basic foot steps.
Latin Dance Basics : The term "Latin dance" may be used in two different ways: to denote dances that originated in Latin America and to name a category of International style ballroom dances. Many popular dances originated in Latin America, and so are referred to as Latin dances. International Latin is the name of a category of International style ballroom dances. International Latin consists of the following five dances: Cha-Cha, Rumba, Samba, Paso Doble and Jive. These dances are now performed all over the world as Latin-American dances in international DanceSport competitions, as well as being danced socially. International Latin Dances:
- Cha-Cha: Energetic and sassy, the Cha-Cha is danced to authentic Latin music or Latin Pop. It is an offshoot of the Mambo.
- Rumba: The Rumba is known as the "dance of love." Danced to romantic, Latin love songs, it is fun and quite easy to learn.
- Samba: Often difficult to master, the Samba is a lively Brazilian dance consisting of many jumps and turns. The Samba is an extremely fast dance.
- Paso Doble: Meaning "two step" in Spanish, Pasa Doble is a lively, march-like dance with significantly less hip movement.
- Jive A variation of the Jitterbug, the Jive consists of dance steps derived from country dancing.
- Salsa: Salsa is normally a partner dance, although there are recognized solo forms, line dancing (suelta), and Rueda de Casino where groups of couples exchange partners in a circle. Salsa can be improvised or performed with a set routine.
- Merengue: This is a style of Latin American music and dance with a two-step beat. Partners hold each other in a closed position. The leader holds the follower's waist with the leader's right hand, while holding the follower's right hand with the leader's left hand at the follower's eye level.
Latin Style: Compared to other ballroom dances, Latin dances are generally faster-paced, more sensual, and have more rhythmic expression. The latin dances are for couples, typically a man and a woman. Partners sometimes dance in a closed, tight position, and sometimes hold only one hand. Latin dancing, as Latin music, is sultry and physical. Quick paced rhythms and playful movements make the various Latin dances endlessly entertaining, sometimes even breathtaking. The Latin dances are derived from the music to which they are danced. The component of the music that most differentiates the dances is their fast or slow tempo.