Latin dances are fun and fabulous, sometimes over the top, sometimes subtle and intimate. The bottom line is that we all love watching them. So here is a little history, a little drama, and some pointers to take your new knowledge from this page to the dance floor.
Cha-cha comes from Cuba, and like everything Cuban, it is hot, hot, hot! When dancing Cha-cha you must flirt like you’ve never flirted before! Let your partner know you like being in his or her arms, and when they least expect it, break free and show them that you’ve got something they want!
Samba is a Brazilian dance that represents the culture of Rio de Janeiro. It is the Latin Waltz. It moves around the floor in elegant, yet playful patterns. Samba is exciting and energetic, and requires a lot of body rhythm in addition to your footwork.
Ballroom style Rumba is the dance of deep, persistent love. It is the dance where pure feeling takes over. It is not only a love story, but a life story. It is a story of a relationship that is deeper than the one portrayed in dances like the Cha-cha or Samba. It is a relationship where the partners have a past, a shared history together. It is not the naive kind of love where everything is always sunny and bright! Rumba is about hurt as much as it is about the good times. It is about being together through thick and thin, getting angry and forgiving, and still loving that person deeply and passionately even after everything you’ve been through together.
The main characteristic of Salsa is that it is fun! There is no right or wrong way to dance Salsa – there are numerous styles, all of which are respected in their own right. You can dance on 1, or 2, to the clave, or any other instrument. All you need is the ability to have fun with your dancing, and a few basic steps, and you are well on your way to being a competent Salsa dancer!
Salsa has its own technique and proper styling, just like any other dance, but it is a dance open to your interpretation. Do you like to flirt with your partner, with the audience, dance by yourself, make everything your partner does look good, make sharp accents, or smooth transitions? Any combination of these is a legitimate ways of dancing Salsa.
Afro-Cuban dances are the basis of most Latin Ballroom dances. The essence of Afro-Cuban dancing is the man-woman relationship. Traditionally, Afro-Cuban dances are danced without touching, so the flirtation and sexual tension between partners must be transfered through facial and body expressions, and symbolic actions, like thrusting one’s hips forward, or back.
Afro-Cuban dances make no secret of the sexual underpinnings of dance. It is raw and honest. There are no ambiguous steps that are there simply because. The man’s dance steps are designed to show off his masculinity and get the woman interested. His main goal is to get the woman to continue the conversation begun on the dance floor somewhere more private and secluded. The woman’s steps show off her femininity. She flirts and refuses the man’s advances, but doesn’t exactly say ‘no’. She says: ‘what else have you got?’ ‘I am not convinced yet, but I may be interested.’