International Latin/Rhythm Dances

During the Spanish American war in Cuba in 1898, US soldiers got a taste of Cuban music and dance. Later, during prohibition in the United States, Americans went to Cuba where drinking alcohol was legal, and they became infatuated with the Latin rhythms. The immigration of musicians and dancers from Castro’s Cuba and Puerto Rico helped expand the horizons of American music and dance.


The Mambo started in Cuba within the settlements of Haitian immigrants. In Haiti the “Mambo” is a voodoo priestess who is a healer and spiritual advisor. The Mambo is a fast dance with emphasis on the beats 2 and 4. The fusion of Cuban music and Jazz created an exciting style of music. A slower version of the Mambo called the “triple mambo” eventually became the Cha Cha.


The Cha cha cha took America by storm in 1953 and is still popular today danced as a social dance, American competitive dance and world competitive dance.

Its basic rhythm “2,3, cha cha cha” is known by almost everyone.


The origins of the Rhumba and Bolero are Spanish and African with its major growth occurring in Cuba. Both dances have been codified for both social and competitive dancing. The Bolero is the slower of the two dances with long sensuous movements. The Rhumba is considered the body/torso dance with emphasis on rhythmic motion in the hips, ribcage and back.


Paso Doble means double-step in Spanish and is the traditional couple dance in Spain. Paso Doble is danced to the music played at the bullfight with the man portraying the matador and the woman his cape.


Samba is a collection of dances from Brazil. Primarily African in origin, Samba combines diverse dances such as the Bosa Nova, the Batucada , Maxxixe, the Byon as well as others. The Samba is an extremely exciting dance because of its variety of foot rhythms, body actions and transitions from smooth to African body rhythms.

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