History of Latin Dance
Latin dance typically includes dances originating in Latin America, such as Cha cha cha, Rumba, Samba, Salsa, Mambo, Merengue, Bachata, Cumbia, and Bolero. Some dance instructors also include Tango and Argentine Tango in this list, although these differ from the rest in their style. In Argentina Tango is not considered folk dance as is the case with dances like Chacarera, Gato, Escondido and Zamba. Typical Bolivian folk dances are Morenada, Kullawada, Llamerada, Caporales and the recently created Tinku. In Colombia one of the typical dances is the Cumbia, not to be mistaken with Argentine Cumbia, a popular music genre influenced by Caribbean reggae and ska.
The second is a more formal usage, to describe a category of International style ballroom dances, also called Latin American dances or International Latin. It consists of the following five dances: Cha cha, Rumba, Samba, Paso Doble, Jive. Notice that the last two dances are not in fact of Latin American origin. Compared to typical ballroom dance, Latin dances are generally faster-paced, more sensual, and have more rhythmic expression. Time is 4/4 straight rhythm or related. Couples in the basic position stand face-to-face. Music may be Latin American or contemporary popular music.
In DanceSport competitions, with their formal classification of dance programs, the International Latin class is subdivided into Professional Latin and Amateur Latin categories, as may be seen in competition listings. This is because formal dance competitions are carried out separately for professionals and for amateurs. In United States, the Pro-Am category is also used, when competing couples consist of one professional and one amateur.
Social latin dances include salsa, mambo, merengue, tumba, bachata, bomba, plena, and the Argentine tango. There are many dances which were popular in the first part of the 20th century, but which are now of only historical interest. The Cuban danzon is a good example.
Perreo is a Puerto Rican dance associated with Reggaeton music with Jamaican and Caribbean influences. Latin folk dances of Argentina include the chacarera, gato, escondido and zamba.
Typical Bolivian folk dances are the morenada, kullawada, caporales and the recently created tinku. In Colombia one of the typical dances is the cumbia.
Lavelle, Doris 1983. Latin & American dances. 3rd ed, Black, London, p108.
The reason jive is included with the latin dances is because its dance style is similar: "... a non-progressive dance which can be danced in a small space when the floor is crowded". and "The hold is similar to latin dances" [meaning, it is quite different from the modern or ballroom dances]. Silvester, Victor 1977. Dancing: ballroom, latin-american and social, 105/6. ISBN 0-340-22517-3. Teach Yourself Books
Santos, John. 1982. The Cuban Danzon (liner notes). New York, Folkways Records FE 4066
Box, Ben (1992 [and subsequent editions]). South American Handbook. New York City: Trade & Travel. At the beginning of each chapter (except the Guianas) is a section on "Music and Dance" written by Nigel Gallop, an Englishman, fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, who lived and worked in almost every country of South America.
Box, Ben; Cameron, Sarah (1992 [and subsequent editions]). Caribbean Islands Handbook. New York City: Trade & Travel.