Dance is an integral part of Hispanic culture.
More than a form of entertainment, it mirrors history and traditions, and paints a dynamic picture of a country’s culture and people. In fact, one way to know more about a Hispanic country is to learn its dances and decipher the meaning behind its moves.
Here are some of the most popular Hispanic dances today.
1. Salsa. According to DanceInTime.com, salsa originated from Cuba in the early 1900s. It combines elements of Spanish and Afro-Cuban music plus influences of American jazz and pop music which were incorporated when salsa became widespread in Havana in the mid-century. Salsa moves around a basic footwork of a four-beat combination of two quick steps with a pause or a tap.
2. Bachata. Bachata is a popular dance in Dominican Republic. There was a time in its history that it was associated with unsavoury lifestyles like prostitution, delinquency, and crime. Eventually, it outgrew this image, and it began to overhaul its reputation. Middle class musicians experimented with it, and it received widespread acceptance. Bachata dancers move side to side in a four-beat pattern. Generally, the dance is more about body movements than the footwork.
3. Fandango. Fandango is normally played with a guitar or castanets. Spanish-Art.org notes that fandango began in Andalusia, Spain. The dance normally starts with the man inviting a woman to dance. The woman initially responds with disdain but eventually responds flirtatiously and sensually. The man’s continuous attempt at pursuing the woman makes up the dance. In the Philippines, a former Spanish colony, there is a version calledPandanggo sa Ilaw wherein dancers carry and dance around with candles in glasses.
4. Cha Cha. Cha Cha is like a slower tempo version of salsa. It is popular for its signature movement of stepping forward and backward with an additional quick set of three steps. It is one of the more popular Latin dances today. Did you know that the name “cha cha” actually refers to the sound heeled shoes make when they hit the floor on a rhythm?
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