When you think of Latin American dance, the first image that comes to mind is people dressed up in colorful clothes, some with faces painted on, dancing the night away on the streets. However, there are many more steps that go into the world of Latin American dance than just having colorful clothes and faces painted on.
Latin American dance is a generic term and a very broad term, which refers to various contemporary partner dance styles. It also refers to different types of folk dance and ballroom dance, which originated in Latin America.
As I’m sure most of us are aware, traditional folk dances have been around for thousands of years, and they are still going strong today, which is a great testament to their longevity. As with most things, there are hundreds of variations of folk dances, including everything from traditional Mexican dances to traditional dances from the Caribbean and South America.
Latin American Dancing
The biggest influences on the style of Latin American dancing that we see today come from Latin American music styles. The influence that it has had on folk dances is also quite strong, as is the influence that it has had on dances in other parts of the world.
The main difference between Latin American dancing and traditional folk dancing is the emphasis on body movements, rather than on the ‘face.’ In traditional folk dances, the dancer moves their face to make different expressions, such as laughter or frowns. However, in Latin American dancing, the dancers move their bodies using their feet and hands, rather than their faces.
Another difference between Latin American and traditional folk dancing is that the emphasis is on movement rather than just posture, as with classical ballet. This is a huge part of the style of Latin American dance that has evolved, often referred to as modern dance or modern contemporary dance.
The modern dances of Latin American dance tend to take a different approach to movement. And they often involve more choreography than standard dances. For instance, in many of the dances like cha-cha, a ballroom style dance. The dancer will use lots of props such as ladders, ropes, and hoops, along with footwork and other tools. This style is often referred to as modern ballet, as it is not ballet but much more sophisticated.
While some of the dances associated with modern ballet may not necessarily be as structured as Latin American dances, they still involve movement. For example, salsa dancing is often made up of slow, fluid movements that include a few jumps and turns. Other examples of traditional dance styles involve twists and turns, such as tap-style.
Latin American dance is sometimes made up of elements of several traditional styles. A popular example is the Mexican Salsa. Other examples include tango, which is a blend of Ballet and Tango.
European dances influenced many of the dance styles associated with Latin American dancing. These include things like the samba, meringue, cha-cha, and even tango.
African American Dances
Some of these styles were taken over in the late 19th century by African American dances. They have their own set of movements and traditions. Many of the styles associated with African American dancing were often influenced by the Zulu dance and the African-Caribbean rhythms.
Many people who perform in Latin American dance can trace their roots back to Mexico. So you will often find references to dance styles in Mexican history books. These include the Cumbia and Pancha Villa. This kind of music has influenced traditional Mexican dances for thousands of years. Which is one of the major reasons it is often seen in the USA’s styles of Mexican dance.