Why Should I Learn that Latin Dance? – The Sequel
Here is the second part to my blog on the benefits we can get from learning certain dances. Last week I covered the ballroom dances-Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, and Viennese Waltz, so this time let’s do the Latin dances. Those are the dances that have a consistent, underlying Afro-Cuban beat in the music.
Rumba is the grandfather of rhythm and Latin dances. Learning Rumba makes everything else that involves hip motion (aka Cuban motion) a million times easier to learn. This is because Rumba is the slower of the Latin dances. Being able to slow everything down helps develop control in your movement. When you are able to dance something in slow motion, then you will know that you truly understand the movement and what your body is supposed to be doing. Rumba can be danced to not only Latin music but also a wide variety of oldies and contemporary music too. This will be your most used slow dance. Let’s not forget the best part about Rumba: it’s sexy! It’s romantic! It makes a woman feel desirable and a man feel like he can sweep any lady off her feet!
Cha Cha will really get you out of your shell. When you dance Cha Cha, you can’t help but smile, wink at your partner, and shake what your mama gave you! You will learn to be quick and nimble on your feet like a ninja. Most importantly, you can dance Cha-Cha to more modern music more so than probably any other dance. You can dance it to club music, Latin, Hip-Hop, Pop, and even Country Music. It’s so versatile I can probably guarantee that you (yes, YOU reading this!) own at least one song that you can Cha-Cha to, regardless of your taste in music.
Salsa will smooth out your Latin dances. You will be able to flow from one move to the next with ease. Men let me tell you-this is your jam! You will look so slick with this dance. There are so many cool tricks and variations that you can do with your hands while doing basic things with your feet. This will make you look more advanced without having to learn a ton of new things. Ladies, if you want to spin, twirl, and have good balance, then it’s in Salsa where you get really good at it. You will learn to spin 1 ½ or even 2 whole times around in rapid succession. The techniques needed to be able to do this without getting dizzy or throwing off your balance or your partner will be needed in all your dances.
Mambo really teaches you precision in your movement. The upbeat tempo, staccato body action, and distinct timing require the lead to be exact with his cues and for the follow to respond quickly and accurately. The only way to successfully get through this dance is by keeping your poise forward and not leaning back into your heels. This will create a good habit in all your Latin/Rhythm dances. I have a secret that I want to share with you about Mambo: most of the steps you learn in this dance can be used in Salsa with just a little tweak to the style and timing. So basically you’re doubling your repertoire for another dance as you learn this one. How cool is that?
Merengue allows you to start to play with your dancing. Because of Merengue’s march-like rhythm, you can do just about anything you can imagine which is great for making up new steps or combining old steps. This constant strong beat is found in a lot of Latin music and is also found in Disco music, which makes the dance even more useful. This dance will also make you sweat! You can burn up to 250-500 calories an hour- just as with the other Latin dances- which is definitely an added bonus! That sounds way more fun than running on a treadmill for an hour! Since hip action is a main feature of the Merengue, it will help you develop your rhythmic hip action so you look like a cool Latin dancer because no one want to be described as the classic stereotypical “white boy” dancing! Merengue is basically Zumba with a partner. Scratch that, Merengue has been around a lot longer, so Zumba is Merengue without a partner!
Whew! That was more dances than ballroom! I really hope I have inspired you to try any of these dances that you may not have experienced yet. Each dance will teach you something unique and help you to improve your other dances more rapidly. Ultimately, no matter what dances you choose to learn, enjoy yourself and most importantly, get your groove on!
Tell us which dances you like the best and why!
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