The term Latin dance has two meanings, depending on whether the context is social or ballroom Dance.

Dances from Latin AmericaEdit

Latin dance typically includes dances originating in Latin America and the Caribbean islands such as Cha-cha-cha (dance), Rumba (dance), Samba (dance), Salsa (dance), Mambo (dance), Danza, Merengue (dance), Tumba, Bachata (dance), Cumbia, and Bolero. Some dance instructors also include Tango (dance) and Argentine tango in this list, although these differ from the rest in their style. In Argentina tango is not considered folk dance as is the case with dances like Chacarera, Gato, Escondido and Zamba. Typical Bolivian folk dances are Morenada, Kullawada, Llamerada, Caporales and the recently created Tinku. In Colombia one of the typical dances is the Cumbia, not to be mistaken with Argentine cumbia, a popular music genre influenced by Caribbean reggae and ska.

Ballroom dancingEdit

The second is a more formal usage, to describe a category of International style ballroom dances, also called Latin American dances or International Latin. It consists of the following five dances: Rumba (dance), Samba (dance), Paso doble, Cha-cha-cha (dance), Jive (dance).

The last two dances are not of Latin-American origin, and dance teaching organisations have used various terms. The ISTD (Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing) uses the phrase Latin American Dance; the IDTA (International Dance Teachers' Association) uses the term Latin; a good compromise is Latin and American. Comparison with English modern (or International standard) ballroom is not simple, but basically rests on the music, and the fact that most latin dances are not progressive (travelling) dances (the exception being the samba), whereas all ballroom dances progress round the ballroom anti-clockwise. Music for latin dance teaching is usually in 4/4 time, though in fact most Cuban music is written in 2/4 time. This difficulty can be overcome by teaching steps in groups of four beats. Thus a typical Cuban dance of three steps to four beats covers two bars of 2/4 music or one bar of 4/4 music. Couples in the basic position stand face-to-face, and the hold is semi-open, as contrasted with the close hold of ballroom dance. Music may be Latin American or contemporary Popular music; it is generally strict-tempo: a consistent and (for teaching or competition) a preset number of beats per minute.

In Dance competitions, with their formal classification of dance programs, the International Latin class is subdivided into Professional Latin and Amateur Latin categories, as may be seen in competition listings. This is because formal dance competitions are carried out separately for professionals and for amateurs. In United States, the Pro-Am (ballroom) category is also used, when competing couples consist of one professional and one amateur.

See also Edit

  • Dance
  • Dance
  • List of dances
  • Glossary of partner dance terms
  • Latin America