All You Need to Know About Latin Dancing
The phrase ‘latin dancing’ conjures up images of fast, furious steps with unbridled passion, but there is more to this genre of dancing than meets the eye as it spans a multitude of specialties.
What’s in a name?
Latin dancing covers a whole range of styles born by the indigenous people of Central & South America, but over the years the influences come from further afield such as Europe – namely Iberia – the Caribbean and Africa. Whatever its roots are, latin dancing is typified by freedom, self-expression and rhythm.
Who can do Latin?
Often referred to as the dance of love, the sensual latin numbers can be a little off-putting to people uncomfortable with being intimate with a stranger, but not all of the latin dances require such close contact and partners are often barely holding hands in the faster numbers. In fact, latin is predominantly about letting go and enjoying yourself (Salsa is one of the most popular social dances). You are never too young or old to learn latin, and as they say, “if you can walk, you can Merengue.”
Taking up latin dancing at any age will undoubtedly change you for the better, and you’ll get fitter, tone up, relax, enjoy yourself and improve your confidence as you master the steps and rhythm. With fast footwork and plenty of body isolations you will see the pounds drop off and muscles bulge before too long. Not only are latin dances an excellent all-over workout, but they are an easy way to incorporate dance into your social calendar with Salsa clubs springing up all over Australia.
Feel the rhythm
Latin music is as varied as the dances, and Salsa clubs tend to also play music with a Cha Cha, Mambo, Samba, Rumba and Bachata tempo, so it’s worth taking the time to hear the beat before you move your feet. Whichever style you choose, your Arthur Murray Crows Nest teacher will help you tell the difference so you can select the right latin moves for each tune.
While you should wear something stretchy and lightweight for dancing, you can indulge in some of the fashions made popular by the latin culture. Skirts with several short layers, such as the 1980s ra-ra skirt or the more modern ruffle mini-skirt, emphasise the sway of the hip action. Alternately, the South American style has influenced the recent trend for asymmetrical lines and you could wear one-shouldered tops and dresses, v-shaped hemlines and waterfall skirts. Just remember to avoid big accessories which can catch on hair or clothing, and keep long locks under control as you twist and turn.
Many latin styles rely on mastering the Cuban Motion which is the ubiquitous figure-of-eight hip action, but other common isolations include shimmies, shakes and body rolls, so latin gives you a whole body workout.