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.