Latin Dances: a performance of beat and rhythm

Latin dances

This dance style commonly referred to as pacing is a general label used to describe dance performances involving partners. Most of the styles used in Latin dance arrangements have origins in Latin America. In the international arena, Latin performances incorporate the rumba, pasodoble, cha-cha-cha as well as the Jive from the United States. With so much influence from the west, what was initially performed as Latin dance is now just used in reference to the many types of dance styles; the Cuban danzón that was once performed as part of the Latin dance is one such example. Every country or region of South America and the greater America, have their own style inspired by different influences.

Evolution of Latin dances

It is believed that the earliest performances of the Latin dances happened around the 15th century. While the dance takes various forms depending on the geographical location of a dancer, the strongest influence in adapting new styles was derived from African, European and Native Latin influences. Around the 16th century when explorers from Spain and Portugal were traversing the world, they brought back stories of native people and their way of life. It is not clear when these individual civilizations separated by massive land masses had been practicing dance as a way of self-entertainment, but their purpose was to express opinions about life at the time. Native dances would be reinvented by the colonial forces towards the close of the 16th century and together with Catholic stories when Christianity began to spread, a Latin dance would tell a story without the use of words. One element of Latin dancing and which might have been the center of attraction for many people encountering it was the elaborate structure of moves performed by a large group in unison.

At the particular point in history when the Latin dance style was entering Europe, males and females were not allowed to touch during a performance. Accepting this new concept of dance would foster social integration among different people in society. Much of the storytelling would, however, disappear with time and the Latin dance as it is performed today became more of a performance of beats and rhythm.

latin dance


There is no doubt that the Latin dance version performed in the 15th and 16th centuries was nothing like what is performed today. Watching the different variations, however, one gets the impression that the native African, Latin and European roots will never be lost. This is a clear indication that through dance, the world can develop tolerance and appreciation for everyone.

In Danse Marc Charlebois we offer latin dance classes for adults which include Salsa, Mambo, Merengue, Rumba, Bachata, Bomba, Plena, and the Argentine TangoAlso find some Zumba dance classes for adults and teens, which are inspired by different Latin rhythms like Salsa, Merengue, Samba and Mambo.

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