Latin Dance Names

Darrell's database of Latin dance names:  chipanecas (chip)  rumba  milonga  salsa  ace  tao  conga  jarabe  macumbo  xongo macarena cueca pachanga lindy tango cha-cha lambada samba mambo merengue waltz cumbia flamenco polka escondido watusi twostep jig bolero corrido danzon limbo guaracha bomba charanga maxixe alegrias bambuca beguine calypso carioca

ALEGRIAS: The Alegrias is one of the oldest of Spanish Gypsy dances and =
is often called the "Queen" of Flamenco dances. It is the purest and =
more refined of the repertoire. It suggests the movements of the =
bullfight and is usually danced by a woman alone.=20

BAION: A type of slow Samba rhythm from Brazil that became popular in =
North America during the 50's.

BAMBA: An old Mexican air from the province of Vera Cruz, Mexico, to =
which a charming folk dance depicts two lovers who throwing a narrow =
sash on the floor manage to tie in into a knot with their dancing feet.

BAMBUCA: The national dance of Colombia, South America. It is =
characterized by cross accents in the music. It was formerly danced only =
by the natives but became a ballroom dance to be added to the gentle =
Pasillo, a favorite with Colombian society.

BATUQUE: Afro-Brazilian jam sessions. In the Batuque the dancers form a =
circle around one performer. This solo dancer chooses his successor for =
the exhibition spot while shouting the word "Sama."=20

BEGUINE: A type of Rumba in which the accent is on the second eighth =
note of the first beat. Origins spring from Martinique and Cuba.

BOLERO: Originally a Spanish dance in 3/4 time, it was changed in Cuba =
initially into 2/4 time then eventually into 4/4. It is now present as a =
very slow type of Rumba rhythm. The music is frequently arranged with =
Spanish vocals and a subtle percussion effect, usually implemented with =
Conga or Bongos.

BOTECITA: The "Little Boat." It is Cuban dancing with a very exaggerated =
swaying of the shoulders.

BULERIAS: A Spanish Gypsy dance. Livelier and more spirited than most of =
the repertoire. It's usually danced by a whole group and could be called =
a Flamenco jam-session.

CALYPSO: The music of the typical ballads in England sung by the natives =
of Trinidad. There was no real dance but because of the extreme =
popularity of the music, in 1956, possibly due to the singer Harry =
Bellafonte, many steps were created. Most of them resemble the Cuban =
Bolero or the Martinique Beguine or even Swing.=20

CARIOCA: A native of Rio de Janeiro. Also the abbreviation of the =
Brazilian dance, the Samba Carioca. At the Carioca Carnival, from the =
moment the music starts until it dies off, people get together in =
cordoes (chains or cues). Holding hands in this fashion they sing and =
sway their bodies to the Samba-Carioca and the Marchas.=20

CHA CHA: From the less inhibited night clubs and dance halls the Mambo =
underwent subtle changes. It was triple mambo, and then peculiar =
scraping and shuffling sounds during the "tripling" produced the =
imitative sound of Cha Cha Cha. This then became a dance in itself. =
Mambo or triple Mambo or Cha Cha as it is now called, is but an advanced =
stage in interpretive social dancing born of the fusion of progressive =
American and Latin music.

CHIPANECAS: A Mexican Folk dance from the province of Chiapas. Its =
popularity is due to the charming air plus the audience participation =
during the time the dancers request the audience to clap hands with =
them. It is in 3/4 time and based on Spanish patterns.

CONGA: An African-Cuban dance characterized by the extreme violence of =
accents on the strong beats in 2/4 time. The Conga beat thus used has a =
rhythmic anticipation of the second beat in every other measure. The =
Conga was very popular in the late thirties. It was performed in a =
formation known as the Conga chain. The steps are simple, one, two, =
three, kick at which time the partners move away from each other.

CORRIDOS: The musical ballads called the Corridos play a very important =
part in Latin American musical life. The words are often topical and =
relate to political events. It has been suggested that the word Corrido =
is derived from the word correr, to run, because the singer has to run =
for his life when caught in the process of reciting a subversive ditty. =
Corridos are particularly popular in Mexico.

DANZON: A Cuban dance which starts slowly and gradually accelerates at =
certain melodic intervals between chorus and verse: the dancers stop to =
talk but remain on the floor until a certain beat tells them to resume =
their dances. This dance, which might be called a Rumba variation is in =
a 4/4 time. Its stately music is popular in the tropics because it is =
not strenuous. It is know as the aristocrat of all Cuban dancing because =
of its dignified and stately appearance.=20

DOMINICAN MERENGUE: The dance of the Dominican Republic is 2/4 time with =
syncopation of the first beat interpreted by the dancers as a slight =
limp. It became popular in 1957.

ESCONDIDO: An Argentine dance called Escondido (literally hidden for in =
it the female partner hides from the male) belongs to the Gato type =
rhythmically and choreographically.

FADO: Originally a Portuguese song and dance absorbed by Latin America =
and especially by Brazil as a pattern for the Samba. The steps of the =
Fado are based on a hop, a skip and a kick in 2/4 time. It makes a =
charming exhibition folk dance.

FANDANGO: Most important of the modern Spanish dances, for couples. The =
dance begins slowly and tenderly, the rhythm marked by the clack of =
castanets, snapping of fingers, and stomping of feet. The speed =
gradually increases to a whirl of exhilaration. There is a sudden pause =
in the music toward the end of each figure when the dancers stand rigid =
in the attitude caught by the music. They move again only when the music =
is resumed. This is also characteristic of Seguidillas, similar to Jota.

FARANDOLE: A dance Haute from Provence, France. A typical variation was =
a quick gallop step danced by a procession winding in and out in single =
file, headed by a musician who played a drum and fife at the time =
skipping along without losing a beat. 6/8 or 4/4 time.

FARUCA: The dance of Spain most suited to a man. It is a pure Gypsy =
dance in 2/4 time consisting of heel work, fast double turns and falls. =
It is considered one of the most exciting of all the same Flamenco =

GATO: Argentine dance performed by two couples. In rhythm it resembles a =
very fast Waltz in steady quarter notes. A very popular form is the Gato =
con Pelaciones - that is Gato with stories. The stories are the =
diversified content; amorous, philosophical or political.

GUAJIRA: This dance was originally a Andalusian dance derived from =
Sevillanos. This dance which was played in 3/4 or 6/8 time was a Cuban =
Country dance as well, performed in Conga rhythm to the music marked Son =
Guajira. In ballroom terminology a Rumba is slow to medium tempo, or =
danced as a very slow Cha Cha, with subtle body movements.

GUARACHA: This lively Cuban song and dance of Spanish origin is =
performed in 2/4 time and danced by the more expert and agile dancers =
only, as its speed is rather imposing. a) An old Spanish dance in two =
sections. One is lively triple and the other in double. It originally =
was played in 4/4 time. b) A modern Rumba usually played very fast.

IBO: The Ibo rhythm belongs to the faster Haitian Merengue group of =
dancers. It is colorful, native in style and can be classified as =
"Caribbean dancing." A pronounced movement of hips and turning of the =
head is typical.

JARABE: The Jarabes are typical Mexican Folk dances. Usually done by a =
couple, it depicts a flirtation and conquest. It is well known in =
America by its other name, "The Mexican Hat Dance." The Mexican Jarabe =
is a descendant of the Spanish Zapateado, and its rhythm resembles that =
of a Mazurka. It is in 3/4 time.

JARANA: Folk dance of Yucatan, Mexico. It is possibly closer to the =
melo-rhythmic foundation of the ancient Mexican songs than any other =
native air. The verses of the Jarana are often in the Mayan language. =
The word Jarana means merry chatter. It is exciting in its rhythm based =
on a combination of 6/8 and 3/4 time. As an exhibition ballroom dance it =
can be placed alongside La Raspa and La Bamba, its cousins.

KANKUKUS: Afro-Brazilian dances of the Mestiso Indians.=20

LA CUECA: La Cueca is a Chilian dance written in 6/8 time with the =
accompaniment in 3/4 time. Originally it was danced with handkerchiefs =
only, but during recent years it has enjoyed popularity on the ballroom =

LA RASPA: A Mexican dance from Vera Cruz, which reminds us of our own =
square dancing except that it has a peculiar hopping step of its own. It =
has enjoyed a well merited popularity for a number of years as a fun =

LAMBADA: This latest dance crazy has its roots from the Northeast Coast =
of Brazil. The exciting look of this dance on European television took =
the Continent by storm in the late 80's. Introduced to the U.S. by =
Arthur Murray personnel, its lighthearted Brazilian/Caribbean beat =
combines the flavor of the Samba with the sultry passion of the Rumba.

MACUMBO: An African Brazilian ritual and like dances belonging to it.

MAMBO: The fusion of Swing and Cuban music produced this fascinating =
rhythm and in turn created a new sensational dance. The Mambo could not =
have been conceived earlier since up until that time Cuba and the =
American Jazz were still not wedded. The Victor records of Anselmo =
Sacaras entitled "Mambo" in 1944 were probably the beginning and since =
then other Latin American bandleaders such as Tito Rodriguez, Pupi =
Campo, Tito Puente, Perez Prado, Machito and Xavier Cugat have achieved =
styling of their own and furthered the Mambo craze. The Mambo was =
originally played as any Rumba with a riff ending. It may be described =
as a riff or a Rumba with emphasis on the fourth beat 4/4' time. =
Originally played by some musicians in 2/4 time with a break or emphasis =
on 2 and 4. Native Cubans or dancers, without any training would break =
on any beat.

MARCHA: Latin American counterpart of our One-Step.

MARTINIQUE BEGUINE: Popular ballroom dance of the island of St. Lucia =
and Martinique. It is characterized by the rocking back and forth of the =
hips while the girl throws her arms around her partner's neck. His arms =
loosely clasp her about the waist. The steps have been incorporated in =
both the Haitian Merengue and Calypso.

MAXIXE: A Brazilian dance first introduced in Paris in 1912. It is in =
2/4 time of rapid tempo with a slight syncopation. In this dance strict =
attention must be paid to the carriage of the head and the posturing of =
the arms.

MENTO: The most popular native dance of Jamaica which resembles a Rumba =
played in slow tempo.

MILONGA: The Milonga is a Spanish dance first originated in Andalusia. =
As the fascinating music traveled the world it assumed various aspects. =
In Buenos Aires the Gauchos danced it in what is called a closed =
position, in the lower class cafes. Here their interpretation of it =
emerged into what today is our Tango. The Milonga enjoyed a popular =
resurgence some years ago through the Juan Carlos Copes group who =
performed it the world over.

MINUET: It was a carefree and lively dance until presented by the French =
court in 1650. There it developed into a slow and stately dance, elegant =
in its simplicity. It consists of a salute to the partner, a high step =
and a balance, and affords numerous opportunities for an exchange of =
courtly gestures, bows and curtsies.=20

MODINHA: Among the Brazilian dances there is the Modinha which is the =
diminutive of Moda (Mode or Style) and is directly derived from the =
Portuguese songs and dances of that name. The early Modinhas were =
greatly influenced by Italian music. The present day Modinhas are =
sentimental in mood and similar to the Cuban Boleros.=20

PACHANGA: In 1955 Eduardo Davidson, a Cuban Colombian introduced the =
Marencumbae, a Colombian dance in Cuba. The Original music was called La =
Pachanga with Marencumbae underneath it. He made up patterns for this =
dance by watching musicians keeping time on the band stand. It was then =
introduced into the United States to play for the Cuban Embassy's annual =
affair at the Waldorf. He was simultaneously booked at the Palladium. He =
had with him two terrific boy dancers. These boys came out as part of =
the show and did Cha Cha's with swiveling and trucking movements. People =
had never seen this type of Cha Cha before and asked what it was. Since =
Fajardo had a Charanga band and spoke no English, his reply was =
Charanga. After a big conference of dancers in 1956 the Pachanga was =
introduced, but they found out that the Charanga and the Pachanga were =
interchangeable. So instead of some calling it Charanga and others =
Pachanga, they decided that the music would be called Charanga and the =
dance Pachanga. A Charanga band is the typical Spanish Danzon type band =
that only played in salons, and theothers that played far out and wild =
were called "orchestra typical."

PASO DOBLE FLAMENCO: The same as the Paso Doble but it is not the =
ballroom version. It is purely exhibition dancing and sometimes =
castanets are used or Flamenco arm movements.

PLENA: Several distinctive airs have originated in Puerto Rico. Among =
them the Plena, which is a topical ballad similar to the Mexican =
Corrido. When danced it resembles a Bolero.

PORRO: A Colombian dance. It is similar to the Cuban Rumbas in that it =
expresses various activities or tells stories set to a very syncopated =
2/4 meter.

QUADRILLE: The Quadrille is a "Set" dance. It consists of a series of =
dance figures, the most frequently used is called the "Flirtation" =
figure, in which the man dances with each woman in turn.=20

RUMBA: The Rumba was originally a marriage dance. Many of its movements =
and actions which seem to have an erotic meaning are merely depictions =
of simple farm tasks. The shoeing of the mare, the climbing of a rope, =
the courtship of the rooster and the hen, etc. It was done for amusement =
on the farms by the black population of Cuba. However, it became a =
popular ballroom dance and was introduced in the United States about =
1933. It was the Americanized version for the Cuban Son and Danzon. It =
is in 4/4 time. The characteristic feature is to take each step without =
initially placing the weight on that step. Steps are made with a =
slightly bent knee which, when straightened, causes the hips to sway =
from side to side in what has come to be known as "Cuban Motion."

SALSA: This is a favored name for a type of Latin music which, for the =
most part, has its roots in Cuban culture and is enhanced by jazz =
textures. The word, Salsa, means sauce denoting a "hot" flavor and is =
best distinguished from other Latin music styles by defining it as the =
New York sound developed by Puerto Rican musicians in New York. The =
dance structure is largely associated with mambo type patterns and has a =
particular feeling that is associated mainly with the Clave and the =

SAMBA: This Brazilian dance was first introduced in 1917 but was finally =
adopted by Brazilian society in 1930 as a ballroom dance. It is =
sometimes referred to as a Samba, Carioca, a Baion or a Batucado. The =
difference is mostly in the tempo played since the steps in all three =
dance are very similar. The style is to bounce steadily and smoothly in =
2/4 meter. They say that the Samba was introduced in the United States =
in 1939 by the late Carmen Miranda.=20

SON: A Cuban dance similar to the Bolero except that it is wilder in =
rhythmic accent and more violent in step pattern. It is the Son which =
first served as a basis for the Mambo which in turn became the triple =
Mambo, now known as Cha Cha. This slow rhythmic dance was originally in =
2/4 time. It became Americanized and is usually played in 4/4 time.

TANGO: Continental/English - See INTERNATIONAL TANGO There are =
essentially three types of Tango - Argentine, American and International =
Style. Argentine Tango: (arrabalero) A dance created by the Gauchos in =
Buenos Aires. It was actually an attempt on their part to imitate the =
Spanish dance except that they danced it in a closed ballroom position. =
The Tango caused a sensation and was soon to be seen the world over in a =
more subdued version. American Tango: Unlike the Argentine Tango, in =
which the dancer interprets the music spontaneously without any =
predetermined slows or quicks, the American Tango features a structure =
which is correlated to the musical phrasing. The dance is executed both =
in closed position and in various types of extravagant dance =
relationships which incorporate a particular freedom of expression that =
is not present in the International style. International Tango: This is =
a highly disciplined and distinctively structured form of the Tango =
which is accepted worldwide as the format for dancesport events. The =
dancers remain in traditional closed position throughout and expresses =
both legato and staccato aspects of the type of music appropriate to =
this style.

XONGO: (CHAN GO) A dance of the Macumba ritual in Brazil. It is in honor =
of the jungle god Xango.

XTOLES: (CHI TOL LES) The Mayan Warriors dance of Mexico.=20

ZAPATEADO: The Spanish and Flamenco dances of Spain in which rhythmic =
patterns are made with the heel and ball of Filigrano. Also a man's =
dance which consists purely of intricate stomping.