Most Popular Latin Dances

1. Bachata
A dance from the Dominican Republic, the Bachata is named after Bachata guitar music. Dancers move side to side in a four-beat pattern (three steps to the right followed by a pause) that forms the essence of the dance as performers incorporate pronounced hip movements. Overall, this dance is more about stylishly moving the body than the simple back and forth steps. Since this dance is polished with simple steps, intermediate to advanced dancers have the most success in making it look good.


2. Cha Cha Cha
The Cha Cha Cha is also called the Cha Cha and originated from Cuba. It is the same as the Mambo in style. The difference is that, after the basic movement of stepping forward or backward and shifting weight between feet, the Cha Cha Cha adds a quick set of three steps. This gives the dance its name as many dancers count out these additional steps as ‘cha cha cha’.


3. Mambo
The Mambo was also born in Cuba. Its signature move includes a three-beat step moving forward and then backward while shifting weight from one foot to another. A member of the dancing pair performs the backward motion while the other goes forward. The thing that gives the Mambo its style is its hip-swaying action that the weight shift creates. Even though the Mambo is a couple’s dance, the basic step has appeared everywhere from aerobics videos to line dancing, where dancers perform the three-beat step alone or as part of a group.


4. Merengue
A Dominican dance, Merengue is recognized as the official dance of the country. Generally, it is considered easy to learn, so this is a great choice for those who are still getting started in Latin dancing. The basic movement goes to the front, back and side when a couple dances together: step on the inside edge of foot, roll the foot to transfer weight, and drag the other foot to meet the first.


5. Rumba
The Rumba came from Cuba and is made up of two quick steps and a third slower step that takes two beats to execute. Dancers use a box pattern to guide their movements. Even though dancers danced the Rumba originaly with quick steps, ballroom Rumba dancing emphasizes slow, romantic dance steps that focus on hip movements.


6. Salsa
Originating from the Caribbean, the Salsa also has a strong African influence. Couples mostly do this dance together and it centers on a four-beat combination of two quick steps and a slow step with a tap or pause. Partners then add turns and other flourishes on the basic footwork to create an impressive performance and a fun dancing experience.


7. Samba
Samba is Brazilian in origin and is danced to the music of the same name. It developed many forms in Brazil; some of them are for couples, while others are individual dances. Different music styles are paired with Samba dancers, and speed varies according to the music. Samba is one of the most well-known Latin dances, particularly for its role in Carnival events where dancers perform individually.