In a previous blog, we covered a brief history of the salsa and Argentine tango. Today, we are going to explore a few other popular social Latin dances. Latin dancing is popular everywhere-especially in the southwest where we are here in Arizona. From Latin clubs to private parties, knowing how to Latin dance will come in handy! Get inspired to hit the dance floor and shake those hips because ANYONE can become a great Latin dancer-even YOU!
Let us begin with the Cha Cha, a vibrant, flamboyant and playful Latin dance. The carefree and lively feel of the Cha Cha gives it a unique sense of fun for dancers all over the world.
The Cha Cha is an interpretive social dance, born from the fusion of progressive American and Latin music. The initial purpose of learning this dance was for weight change. Originally known as the Cha-Cha-Cha, it became popular in the 1950’s and was a spin-off of the Mambo. Eventually it evolved into a separate dance, known today as the Cha Cha.
The Cha Cha was immensely popular from the beginning and is a dance that has never gone out of style. It is a constant favorite at weddings because of its versatility with many genres of music. In fact, the Cha Cha can be done to Country dance music, oldies and Hip Hop, in addition to Latin styles. This dance is very easy to learn, and, once you have the basic pattern down, can be done in a crowded room or a wide open space. For social dancing, this is a plus as you can dance the Cha Cha anywhere with ease.
To this day, the Cha Cha has remained one of the most popular partner dances. Less sensual than the Mambo and less erotic than the Bolero, it is exciting and fun to dance. Everybody loves the Cha Cha!
Next, let us tell you about the Merengue. Whenever someone pulls out their hot Latino tunes and starts playing the Merengue, there’s a party! What’s great about the Merengue is that it is based on simple marching steps. There’s an old saying: “If you can walk, you can dance the Merengue.”
The Merengue is the national dance of the Dominican Republic, and also to some extent, of Haiti. It has been around since the early years of the Dominican Republic (in Haiti, a similar dance is called the Meringue). It is very likely that the dance took its name from the confection made of sugar and egg whites due to the light and bubbly character of the dance or because of its short, precise rhythms.
By the middle of the nineteenth century, the Merengue became quite popular in the Dominican Republic. It was used for every dancing occasion in the Republic and is vastly prevalent throughout the Caribbean and South American. It is one of the standard Latin American dances.
There is a lot of variety in Merengue music and tempos can vary a great deal. The Dominicans prefer a sharp quickening with the pace towards the end of the dance. The favorite routine at the clubs is a slow Bolero, which then breaks into a Merengue, and then becomes similar to a fast Jive towards the end. The ballroom version of the Merengue is slower and has a modified hip action.
The Merengue was introduced in the United States around the New York area. It increased in popularity in the U. S. and the rest of the world with its peak years occurring between the 1970s and the turn of the twenty-first century. It had a lot of competition with other Latin dances, but eventually won a foothold in the club scene. Ideally suited to small, crowded dance floors, it is a dance that is easy to learn and really fun for all!
There are so many exciting and popular social ballroom dances to discover. See upcoming blogs, and even previous blogs, on Dance FX Studios’ website to learn about the history of the Swing, Country two step and more. To get started learning these popular dances today, so that you can join in on the fun tomorrow, try out our introductory offer for just $40! You will soon see how dancing really is FUN and EASY to learn and enjoy. Become a confident social dancer after a few private dance lessons and see how many doors will open for you. Dance FX Studios is located in Mesa, Arizona in the Phoenix East Valley, just off the 101 highway for your convenience.