By Yezi Cho |Staff Writer|
The aggressive rhythm and strong beat of Latin American dance music is enough to catch peoples’ interest. It gets our bodies moving. The movements of Latin American dance are hot and fascinating.
The Latin American Dance lecture was held on Jan. 25, in the Pfau library as a part of the the institution’s “Noontime Lectures,” and was presented by student Robin Hernandez.
Hernandez has traveled and taught Latin American dance for seven years, five years as a freelancer.
She says she wants to get people interested in Latin American dance because it is a world-wide interest. Hernandez said, “This historical information of the dance makes people open their minds to Latin American dance.”
The lecture dealt with subtopics such as types of dances, physiological and psychological benefits of dancing and dance etiquette.
The benefits of dancing are numerous. Physiologically, dancing is a great aerobic exercise and increases flexibility. It also improves the circulation of the body and helps with cardiovascular conditioning.
Moreover, socially and psychologically dancing activity allows you to meet many people so that you can socialize with them. It reduces your stress, so you will forget your annoyances. By having a fun time dancing, you will feel confident and relaxed at the same time.
Sam Romero, Public Affairs employee said, “It was a helpful lecture. I have always wondered about Latin American dance.”
However, before you go dancing you should know about today’s dance etiquette. It is critical. When someone asks you to dance, you should not say “No.” If you must say no, give a reason. Say “Thank you” after the dance. When you step on someone’s foot, apologize. Keeping these pieces of etiquette while having an amusing dance time with your partner can make you love dancing more than ever.
There are seven Latin American dances: Samba, Rumba, Mambo, Cha Cha, Cumbia, Merengue and Salsa.
In short, Samba, means “to pray,” introduced in the late 1920s and now dominates most of Brazilian culture. Today we can see it on the streets of Brazil especially during the Brazil Samba Festival during the Rio Carnival.
Rumba is the most sensual dance with fast hip movements. Rumba has an international style and American style but for the most part the male plays an aggressive role and females play a submissive role.
Mambo, meaning Voodoo priestess, influences Cha Cha by adding a triple step. Like other dances, Cha Cha is spread by tourists who returned to their home countries.
Cumbia, a Columbian dance, started between the 17th and 18th century. Cumbia is famous for social courtship dance which is done on special occasions.
Merengue became popular in the mid-1950s due to its simplicity. It’s often accompanied with scandalous lyrics and a strong beat.
On the other hand, Salsa began to mix with Rumba, of African origin. In result, Salsa has evolved over time through an elaborate syncretism of different sounds, culture and meaning.
After the lecture, people had enjoyable time to putting this information to actual use by attending beginners level of Salsa and Merengue.
Dance is a universal sport that everybody can enjoy. We are likely to see dancing in any place such as weddings or night clubs regardless of peoples’ races, countries and languages.
To find out more about upcoming Noontime Lecture events, contact Iwona Contreras at [email protected] or 909 537-5102.