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Latin Dance Couple

Street Latin Vs Ballroom Latin

Street Latin Vs Ballroom Latin aka Dance Sport

Latin dances defined: The term 'Latin dances' in the context of social and ballroom dances may be used in two meanings. The public tend to get these mixed up very easily, mainly due to lack of dance education. Its good to understand they are very different dance styles and completely different histories. You can see the difference in the movements. We have added videos because you can see the visual differences as well.

At 'Salsa Latina' we teach Modern Street Style Latin dancing (#1)
(Article Re-Written by Reuben 2009)


#1 Street Latin Dancing

The first meaning is to denote dances to its authentic origins in Latin American, Spanish & Portuguese speaking origins. Typically these are Salsa, Cha Cha, Rumba, Samba, Axé, New York Mambo, Argentine Tango, Merengue, Forro, Lambada, Kizomba, Zouk, Bachata, Cumbia, Son etc. Our dance instructors teach these styles, which are popular in Modern Salsa night clubs world wide, they are true lead and follow street freestyle dance that is social. Freestyle meaning "not choreographed" as the leader creates or uses moves & turn patterns on the go and both leader & follower relate to the music differently for each dance and you can dance with anyone during a social night. Street Latin dance can also be taken into the competition and performances through choreographed routines as well. Creativity in these dances is growing at a huge rate because its not governed by a body or organisation in comparison to Latin Ballroom. Street Latin styles tend to be more grounded and flowing and the hip & body movement is very different to Ballroom style.

Note 1: Brazilian Samba No Pe and Rumba in their traditional form are not Partner dances.

#2 Latin Ballroom Dancing: AKA Dance Sport

The second, a more formal usage, is the name of a category of International style ballroom dances, also called Latin American dances, International Latin or Dance Sport which was a developed style created in England and is governed by organisations such as WDC & WDSF etc. Many of the dance styles are inspired interpretations of Street style dances brought into the Ballroom scene to spice up the Ballroom scene, they use the same or similar names such as Cha Cha, Rhumba, Salsa, Tango, Waltz etc. Latin Ballroom styles mainly consists of the following five dances: Cha cha cha, Rhumba, Samba, Paso Doble, Jive. Notice that not all Ballroom dances are of Latin American origin 'inspiration', not the original style or dance. This style of Latin dancing is not a true social dance in the lead and follow sense, couples tend to stick together for competitions and do not  dance socially like Latin Street Styles, these are typically competition and performance orientated dances only. The name "Dance Sport" was introduced when the organisation tried to get this labelled as a sport to enter into the Olympic games & is often seen on TV which is why there is often a misunderstanding between Street vs Ballroom. The style usually looks very upright, sharp movements. The hip & body movement is also different to street style Latin dancing.

History of Partner Dancing

Almost all partner dances have universal basics most of it stems from the orginal Waltz.

The Waltz is another social dance  in history that is also has been changed and included into  "Dance Sport" but it didn't originate with this organisation and still continues today outside of dance sport with its own independent & developed street style.


From Bolero, to Son, to Bachata, to Semba, to Forro, to Tango etc…  all dances seem to grow, develop and mutate and cross pollinate around the world based on the music & culture. But its also very interesting to see the similarities and how they relate to the Orginal Waltz. Each of these dances are how each culture perceived and mutated those basics into something that reflects their identity which also needs to be respected. But its fair to say that all partner dancing orginated from the Waltz & Volta in Europe from 1500's.
...see the full article here >

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