The term “Latin dance” may be used in two different ways: to denote dances that originated in Latin America and to name a category of International style ballroom dances.
Many popular dances originated in Latin America, and so are referred to as Latin dances. International Latin is the name of a category of International style ballroom dances. International Latin consists of the following five dances: Cha-Cha, Rumba, Samba, Paso Doble and Jive. These dances are now performed all over the world as Latin-American dances in international DanceSport competitions, as well as being danced socially.
International Latin Dances
- Ballroom Cha Cha – Fun, flirty, playful Cuban dance
- Ballroom Jive – Variation of the Jitterbug, consisting of dance steps derived from country dancing
- Ballroom Paso Doble – Marching to a Spanish bull fight
- Ballroom Rumba – Slow and sensuous Latin American dance
- Ballroom Samba – A lively Brazilian dance consisting of many jumps and turns
Street Latin Dances
- Bachata – Hips on Fire
- Bolero – Slow-tempo Latin dance
- Cha Cha – Vibrant, flamboyant and playful dance from Cuba
- Cuban Salsa – Type of round dancing of Salsa
- Cumbia – The courtship dance
- Mambo – Little bit of Mambo passion
- Merengue – Stylized limping step, known as the pole-fence step
- Rumba – Fascinating rhythms and mesmerizing body movements
- Salsa – Sensual and tantalizing
- Samba – Brazilian dance associated with street festivals and celebrations
- Samba de Gafieira – A partner dance done to the Brazilian samba musical rhythms
- Zouk – Sexy, sensual, free-flowing dance from Brazil
- Zumba – Fitness program inspired by Latin dance
Compared to other ballroom dances, Latin dances are generally faster-paced, more sensual, and have more rhythmic expression. The Latin dances are usually for couples. Partners sometimes dance in a closed, tight position, and sometimes hold only one hand. Latin dancing, as Latin music, is sultry and physical. Quick paced rhythms and playful movements make the various Latin dances endlessly entertaining, sometimes even breathtaking.
The Latin dances are derived from the music to which they are danced. The component of the music that most differentiates the dances is their fast or slow tempo.