Labada

This spicy and flavorful dance is also known as the “Forbidden Dance.” This is probably due to the close nature of the dance and the fact is associate with short-skirts and shirtless guys…it was the style of that time.

And, this time is the 1980s. The Lambada originated in Brazil. The modern day Lambada is a result of many different dances in Brazil. For instance, the sensual dance and the spins come from Carimbo, a dance in Northern part of Brazil during Portugal’s occupation. The name Lambada, meaning “strong slap” in Portuguese, came later as the dance and music became more distinctive.

However, it wasn’t until the 1976 when the father of Lambada, Aurino Quirino Gonçalves, launched Lambada (Sambão), the first song to be labeled Lambada. As the Lambada spread along the Bahia Coast, the 2 step Carimbo dance became a four beat danced as it mixed with the Forro, an old style of Brazilian dance.

Then, in the 80s, Lambada reached international recognition with the French group Kaoma’s song “Lambada“. A number of films have also featured the Lambada, such as “Lambada” and “The Forbidden Dance.” But, the Lambada never seemed to reach the recognition of some other Latin American dances. I’m not sure why. It looks like so much fun!

To see the Lambada lesson that is given in a more professional, fancy manner, click here.

To see the “just-for-fun” Lambada lesson, click here.

Enjoy and have fun!

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Capoeira

Intensive and a workout, the Capoeira can be considered a dance or martial arts, depending on who you talk to.  I believe its an art form, rhythmic, and, thus, a dance. Therefore, I have added it in my blog post for today.

The Capoeira dates back to the colonial period in Brazil. People brought from Angola, Congo, and Mozambique to Brazil by the slave trade created a martial art they needed to survive. They hid their martial art and traditions ina dance form, Capoeira. They used this dance to resist repression  and survival of their culture.

In 1892, Capoeira was associated with crime and was outlawed. Those caught practicing the dance were punished by cutting the tendons of their back feet. Capoeira’s banishment wasn’t lifted until 1918.

In 1937, Mestre Bimba recieved permission from President Getulio Varga to start the first Capoeira school, and the Capoeira became recognized as a national sport.

Capoeira moves are definitely “don’t-try-at-home” moves. It involves acrobatics, other people, and potential brutal kicking and punching motions. But, it’s a great workout! And, with the right training in a dance class setting, anyone can do the Capoeira…believe it or not.

To see the dance performed, check out this video!

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La Cueca

La Cueca is the national dance and folklore of Chile. This dance mimics the courtship of a chicken and rooster. The handkerchiefs you can see to the right symbolize feathers.

Danced for years, la Cueca is influence by both African and indigenous cultures. As you can see, the outfits are thus traditional Chilean outfits. Declared the official dance of Chile in September 1979, you can see la Cueca danced on Chile’s Independence Day.

La Cueca is danced in a circle. The woman has her half of the circle and the man has his. They then dance around each other in half circles or making a full circle. The hankerchiefs are twirled above the head at various moments throughout the dance.

To see the Chilean national champions of 2008 dance La Cueca, check out this video.

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Flamenco

Another extremely passionate and emotional Spanish dance is the Flamenco.

Originating in the 16th century, the dance has been an outlet for the poor and oppressed. This may be a result of the flamenco’s tumultuous begins.

Thrown together by their expulsion in the 1492 at the start of the Reconquista and their location, the Gypsys, the Moors (or Arabs), the Jews, and the indigenous Andalusians created this fusion of influence that led to the flamenco in Anadulcia (Southern portion of Spain).

In the past, the flamenco was accompanied by bandurria, violin and tambourine. Later on, the guitar became the more predominate instrument.

Even though flamenco started in the late 15th century and a cafe cantante (a place flamenco was performed) also opened during this time, the flamenco and the cafe cantantes did not become popular until the second half of the 19th century. That is when the flamenco began to spread.

Today, flamenco has spread from the Andalusian region to all over Spain. It is one of Spain’s greatest attractions and has become a symbol of the nation.

A mixture of clapping, singing, and the guitar, the dancer has a number aspects to keep in mind. They must keep the rhythm, clap, move their arms, tap their feet, and let the emotion of the piece take over their rigid movements. The number of aspects of this dance makes it important to visit a dance class to learn. However, if you want to give it a try on your own, here are some introduction how-to videos:

Feet

Arms

Hands

More video found by this Senora can be found on youtube.

Now, last but certainly not least, to see some professionals at work and very well done flamenco, click here!

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Paso Doble

Elegant and filled with fierce emotion, the Paso Doble resembles the foot work and movements of Bull fighting, another Spanish tradition. In this case, the man is the matador and the woman is the red handkerchief waved in front of the bull.

Stemming from the ritual of the matador’s entry into the bullfighting ring in the 18th century, the Paso Dobe, meaning two step, originated in Spain. The two-step name resembles the 1-2 marching step within the dance. In Southern France, these bullfighting steps were interpreted into dance and music aspects in the early 1900s. Around 1920, the bullfighting phenomenon was coregraphed into a dance. During that time, it was limited to the upperclasses and popular mostly in Paris.

Today, the Paso Doble appears to be reserved only for professional dancers and dance competitions.

As this is a highly choreographed dance, I do not have any basic step or how-to video to offer. To learn the Paso Doble, you may want to check out dance classes in your local area. However, what I do have is some neat videos of two professional dance couples. Maybe, after watching these guys, you can decide if you would like to look up those classes I was talking about.

To see the first very technical couple, click here.

To see the next couple, my favorite, who particularly master the emotion of the dance, click here!

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Quebradita

Fun, fast, and acrobatic, the Quebradita is another impressive dance from Mexico.

The origins of Quebradita stem came in the 1960s with a band called El Recodo. This band mixed cumbia with banda instruments. However, this musical movement did not expand until the late 80’s and early 90’s. Between 1990 and 2000, Quebradita gained the most popularity.

Today, although less popular than norteno and duranguense, the Quebradita is well-known in both the Mexico and certain areas of the U.S.

Quebradita, literally meaning “little break,” exemplifies the breaking element in the dance. Hold onto one another, the couple seem to break at the knees and waist in their movements. Also, in the acrobatics of the dance, the woman being thrown around seems to break around the man’s body while sliding down and around.

To see this very cool dance danced by professionals, click here!

If you want to see if you can pick up the Quebradita without all the flips, click here.

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Duranguense/ Norteno

From the ranches and country of Mexico, this post brings you the wonders of Norteno and Duranguense dancing.

The first dance mentioned, Norteno, originated in northern New Spain, or Northern Mexico. In the late 19th century, Czech, Bohemian, and German immigrants influenced music [and dance] bringing the la redova, la varsoviana, and the polka. Local bands started using elements from this music, like the accordian, and Mexican ranchera (ranch) music. Modern Norteno was born.

Nortenos are now popular in both Mexico and the U.S. as well as urban and rural areas. The music is characterized by the accordian and baja sexto instruments.

The second dance mentioned, Duranguense, refers to the Northwestern state of Durango in Mexico, the state in which it originated. Duranguense music consists of tambora, saxaphone, and trumbone. Differing from the previous norteno genre, the tempo is faster and focuses on the bass drum with heavy percussion of varying drum snare rolls.

Popularity for Duranguense came in the 2000 with the rise of Montez de Durango, a famous Duranguense band that topped Latin Music Charts. This music is popular now in the U.S. as well, since immigrants from Durango brought it to the U.S. and started a Duranguense group in Chicago.

To dance Norteno, you just step left, right to the downbeat and push of the ground with the stepping foot. The follow follows the lead who is directing, usually, her around the floor. To see Norteno, click here.

Duranguense music is very similar. However, dancing duranguense regures quick steps and a more exaggerated push off of the ground. The dance is also enhanced by a little more side-to-side hip action during each foot’s push off of the ground. Here is some further direction. And, to check out some Duranguense, click here.

Of these two dances, my personal favorite is Duranguense. I love the high energy level  and the fast pace. One of my favorite bands is called los Alacrances. However, that is not to say that I do not also greatly enjoy Norteno. My favority Norteno song is “Hasta el Cima del Cielo” by Solido. Hope this post and these songs spark your interest as well.

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