5 Latinx Genres to Move You

A fun, easy way to move your hips is to dance! Here are some of my favorite genres to dance to! 

  1. 1. Salsa

    A well-known dance style of Latin America, these moves originated in New York during the 1960s and have strong roots in Afro-Cuban rhythms. It was developed throughout the years by Cuban and Puerto Rican musicians. Like other genres, there are a variety of categories underneath the umbrella of salsa music, such as salsa romantica or salsa dura. Although it has a simple 1-2-3, 1-2 beat, there is a range of exciting, passionate rhythms!

  2. 2. Cumbia

    A dance style I absolutely love but cannot replicate is cumbia (or swing criollo as I learned in Costa Rica). According to a national webpage, cumbia originated from an African courtship dance which then evolved into what it is today with influences from “European and Indigenous instruments.” With a one-two-three beat, this dance can be difficult for the mind to process, especially those without rhythm. Check out this cute article for basic overview of a Texas flare to cumbia!

  3. 3. Merengue

    One of the most playful genres to me, dancing merengue just makes me smile and laugh. The national dance of the Dominican Republic, merengue combines the styles of African and French Minuet and has two main origin stories up for debate. The one story tells of the slaves who “cut sugar to the beat of the drums while being chained together by one leg,” and thus, the dance was born. The other tale brings forth a hero of one of the revolutions who was injured and had a limp, dragging one foot around. His fellow towns folk followed his lead out of respect. Whichever story you believe, get out and shake your tail feathers!

  4. 4. Reggaeton

    You all probably know of Bad Bunny and J Balvin, but do y’all really know what it takes to dance reggaeton to the max? With roots in Jamaican migrant laborers bringing the sound of reggae to Panama in the 1970s, Reggaeton gained popularity in Puerto Rico where the term ‘reggaeton was coined. Although there is a huge variety in this genre, it has its own rhythm and combines sounds of hip-hop, reggae, and Jamaican dancehall music. A popular beat is Dem Bow (my favorite), although this is not the only one. So, next time you feel like moving, put on some Reggaeton.

  5. 5. Bachata

    This dance style is definitely more sensual, but it still works up a great sweat! Similar to merengue, bachata’s origins are found in the Dominican Republic. This style combines European, African, and Indigenous influences to create a four-step rhythm. Bachata music is characterized by a five-instrument composition of a lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass guitar, bongos and güira (and maybe an electric guitar for support). Grab a partner, and get to dancing!

Have fun dancing!