Dance is considered to be one of the most captivating and vibrant forms of art. Be it the mesmerizing moves, the splendid costumes, or simply the passion of the dancers―it is a pure delight to watch. However, as pleasurable as the experience of watching professional dancers can be, nothing beats the euphoria of getting into some dancing shoes yourself. Latin dances are perfect for people who think dancing alone can be a bit intimidating.
What is this Dance?
Latin dance is all about the right steps and moves with utmost importance to the correct body posture as well. A slight sloppiness can ruin the entire effect of this dance form. This dance traditionally encompasses both the social dance forms as well as ballroom dancing. Contrary to popular belief, Latin dance and ballroom dancing have some major differences.
Latin American Dance Forms
Latin American dances involve relatively less movement around the dance floor compared to ballroom dancing. These dances have noticeable hip action, and generally have rather bold and sensual moves that make it livelier and are rather informal in the overall style. Examples: Cha cha cha, Rumba, Salsa, Bachata, Cumbia, Bolero, Mambo, Tango, and Merengue.
Ballroom dances refer to an international style of social dance during which couples in basic position stand face-to-face. Elegant dance moves are a characteristic feature of this type of dancing. The costumes are different from those used in the other Latin dance forms. Examples: Samba Paso Doble and Jive.
Before Learning the Dance
Before you start a Latin dance class, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind.
Ensure Physical Fitness
Physical fitness is of utmost importance to prepare yourself for all the dance moves that will require immense flexibility and grace. Learning any dance form requires the ability to move, twist, and turn your body which is possible only if you are fit. Start good fitness regime, eat healthy, exercise, and get in shape.
Finding the Right Partner
Finding a good partner is of prime importance since the beauty of the dance depends on the chemistry you share with your partner. If you are the kind of person who would feel comfortable only with your spouse or friends, convince them to take the dance class with you. If you are open to meet new people and socialize, you can always find a partner in your class and maybe even switch your partners now and then to meet new people.
Find the Right Teacher
Finding a good dance instructor is an instrumental step. Find a teacher with a good reputation, and someone who owns a reputed studio to accommodate a group of students comfortably. Make sure you don't get lost in the crowd; you need a teacher who will give personal attention to every student. It is better to visit a dance studio and attend a free session; this will help you understand and evaluate the teaching style of the instructor. Always keep comfort as the first priority, be it the location of the studio, the size and ambiance of the place, the style of the dance teacher, and even the fees.
The costumes are similar to the dance form itself―sensual and vibrant. The costumes are shiny, colorful, and eye-catching.
Latin dancewear for men usually comprises sleek pants and buttoned or V-neck shirts. Satins and shimmering fabrics are more common, but if you are not comfortable with these, you can pick the fabric of your choice. Pick out the right outfit based on comfort as well as aesthetic appeal. Most importantly, do not shy away from bold and sparkly outfits since they complement the soul of this dance form.
The costumes generally have fitted bodices or even halter-tops. The length of the skirt or the dress depends on the style of the dance. Asymmetric skirts or dresses that have slits on the side are commonly worn. Colorful ruffles, ruches, and bright colors help complement the sensual dance moves and enhance its overall appearance. Remember to choose an outfit that looks good on you and makes you feel comfortable as well.
Typically, women either wear pumps or elegant sleek-heeled sandals. Remember that beginners who are not used to dancing in heels should opt for a lower height heel. The pumps are open along the sides and have a closed-toe box whereas the sandals usually have straps and are open-toed. Usually, Latin dance shoes are made of leather, are very light in weight and have suede soles. Make sure you get a pair of shoes that provides you with the right amount of slide and grip while moving around the dance floor. Remember that no matter which pair you pick, be confident and comfortable in them.
Shoes for men are usually lightweight and flexible Oxfords with a Cuban heel and suede soles. In case you are looking for different colors, you can pick from white, black, and two-tone spectator shoes. Make sure the fit is snug, and the leather is not too tight on your feet.