What Styles of Dance Make up Zumba?

Posted by Obi Simpson on Thursday, October 10, 2013 Under: Zumba FAQ

At it's core, Zumba classes are inspired by different latin dance styles and music including: Merengue, Salsa, Cumbia, Reggaeton, Flamenco, Samba, Bachata, Cha-Cha, Soca, Tango, and can even sometimes include HipHop. Pop, or Rock.  In other words, there is pretty much some kind of dance for everyone.

     The "Marching Dance," Merengue originates in the The Dominican Republic and is the country's official dance and official music.  Usually a fast paced, energetic dance, music is often presented by a heavy, easy to follow beat with instruments such as congo drums, accordion, and guitar.   

     A blend of many different styles, cultures, and rhythms, Salsa dancing was created in New York City as a direct result of the mingling of many diverse groups.  Taking much of its soul from cultures of both Cuba and the Carribean, the dance emphasizes hip motion and a firty, fun attitude.  Salsa is usually danced at a faster tempo than many other dances and the steps are smaller as a result.  Many Zumba songs blend elements of Reggaeton in with Salsa music allowing for an even wider range of movements to be performed. 

     Originating from Columbia in South American, Cumbia is a style of music that gained popularity in the mid 20th century and has remained one of the most cherished styles of music across the Carribean.  Originating as a courtship dance amongst slaves, Cumbia evolved as new instruments were introduced by European traders.  Cumbia movements can reflect its origin in this era with movements that resemble harvesting sugarcane.  Instrument wise, the dance primarily focuses on drums, but modern renditions use electronic influences including techno to great acclaim. 

     Attributed to Puerto Rico, Reggaeton has recently gained world wide fame as a modern style. Reggaeton blends Jamaican and Latin influences with dancehall, such as salsa, bomba, latin hip hop, and electronica.  The music is distinguished by a heavy bass drum beat similar to those produced by a Reggae style drum. The unique beat is what really sets this dance apart from other Latin dances and is what makes Reggaeton most similar to American Hip Hop.  

     Credited as evolving in Spain, Flamenco is a style of song and dance with influences  from Gypsy, Muslim and Jewish cultures.  As a dance, Flamenco originally did not rely on music, but rather the dancers made sound with their bodies such as handclapping, snapping fingers, tongue clicking, etc... Zumba takes some of these concepts and refines the attitude to mostly upper body movements.

     Like Cumbia, Samba originates with the west african slave trade.  However, Samba makes its home in Brazil.  Widely hailed for its cultural expression, Samba is famous for its sexy hip ments.  It is often danced at street festivals during celebrations and is held in high regard to Brazillians, ultimately becoming the national dance. The festive style and mood of the dance has contributed greatly to the dance's popularity world wide.  The Samba is a fun dance with music that has evolved with it enthusiasts to fit in with modern popular music.   

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Obi Simpson This blog is designed to educate people on the benefits of dancing in Springfield MO.


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