The Different Types of Latin Dance
The term “Latin dance” can be interpreted in two different ways. In the first interpretations, the term can point out to the various dances which have Latin American origins. This use of the term is much broader than how the term is formally used in ballroom dancing competitions today. When used formally, the term Latin dance actually refers to 5 types of dances. The five types of Latin dance are:
1) Cha-cha – During 1952, dance instructor Pierre Lavelle visited Cuba and was able to witness an unusual way of dancing the rumba. People danced it with a triple step in place of a slow one. This was the emergence of the cha-cha-cha. This type of Latin dance uses contemporary Latin music to provide the beat. There are two main types of cha-cha cha: Latin, which involves slower, more sensuous movements, and “Cowboy”, which can basically be danced to any energetic music.
This type of Latin dance is favored by many in the world today because it is easier to learn compared to others. The steps are basic and transitions are easier to make. It is also quite exciting because of the energetic pace of the music. This type of Latin dance can be described as carefree, energetic, wholesome and fun.
2) Rumba – This type of Latin dance has more serious sensual overtones than the cha-cha. It is slow, quite aggressive and romantic. In fact, a lot of the figures of the rumba have a theme of flirting and rejection or teasing. The basic premise of the rumba is to spotlight the lady’s body and sexuality. Combine this with the slow Latin beat and the rhythmic body movements and you have a sizzling combination.
3) Samba – This type of Latin dance originated from Brazil. It is very lively and can be danced either alone or with a partner. Although many people think that the samba is just one type of Latin dance, it actually is not. Samba is actually a collection of dances inside Brazil. The different accents of the music in various parts of Brazil tend to influence the steps of this type of Latin dance. As such, you will find that different people make different movements when they dance the Samba.
4) Paso Doble – Meaning “two step”, this type of Latin dance actually originated from Southern France. The Spanish flavor of this dance comes from its origins in the Spanish bullfight. Yes, this dance comes from a bullfight. The lively music of this type of Latin dance actually comes from the same music played at bullfights during the entrance of the bullfighters. The movements are generally based on the movements of the matador, the bull or the cape.
5) Jive – this is another type of Latin dance which does not have Latin American roots. It is actually a very lively variation of the Jitterbug. It was mainly propagated during the early 1940’s by young people. This type of Latin Dance is actually rooted in different dances of African-American origin such as the Lindy Hop and the Boogie.
These are the types of Latin dance recognized in International ballroom Competitions. Today, these dances are performed in competitions with high levels of intensity, dedication and athleticism. This just goes to show you that these types of Latin dance find steps into people’s souls.