Hello All!

Here are the descriptions/histories of some the dances we do in Zumba Class! And plenty more to come in the future! lol. Also for more in depth descriptions of the dances just go to http://en.wikipedia.org and type in the style of dance in the search field.



Bachata is a form of music and dance that originated in the countryside and the rural neighborhoods of the Dominican Republic. Its subjects are often romantic; especially prevalent are tales of heartbreak and sadness. In fact, the original term used to name the genre was amargue ("bitterness," or "bitter music"), until the rather ambiguous (and mood-neutral) term bachata became popular.



Native to North Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, belly dancing is based on one of the oldest social dances in world history. Support for this theory stems from similarities between poses from the modern dance form and those depicted in ancient Egyptian art.[citation needed]

There are two forms of belly dancing. The first is called raqs baladi, a social dance performed for fun and celebration by men and women of all ages, usually during festive occasions such as weddings and other social gatherings. The second form, the more theatrical version and the one most popular in America today, is called raqs sharqi. Like raqs baladi, raqs sharqi is performed by both male and female dancers.

In regions where belly dancing is native, boys and girls learn it informally from an early age by observing and imitating their elders during family/community celebrations and gatherings with friends.[citation needed] Today, these ancient dance forms are taught in classes throughout the world where skilled dancers/teachers share the knowledge that has been passed down to them.


Cumbia is originally a Colombian folk dance and dance music and is Colombia's representative national dance and music along with vallenato. The Cumbia is an autochthonous dance and music from the Caribbean Coast of Colombia, with variants of equally folk in Panama.

Cumbia began as a courtship dance practiced among the slave population that was later mixed with the European instruments and influence. It was also used during Colombia's struggle for independence as an expression of resistance against Spain.



Hip hop dance refers to dance styles, mainly street dance styles, primarily danced to hip hop music, or that have evolved as a part of the hip hop culture.

By its widest definition, it can include a wide range of styles such as breaking, popping, locking and krumping, and even house dance. It can also include the many styles simply labelled as hip hop, old school hip hop (or hype), hip hop new style and freestyle.


Merengue is a style of Latin American music and dance with a two-step beat. Partners hold each other in a closed position. The leader holds the follower's waist with his right hand, while holding her right hand with his left hand at the follower's eye level. Partners bend their knees slightly left and right, thus making the hips move left and right. The hips of the leader and follower move in the same direction throughout the song. Partners may walk sideways or circle each other, in small steps. They can switch to a open position and do separate turns without letting go each other's hands or momentarily releasing one hand. During these turns they may twist and tie their handhold into intricate pretzels. Other choreography is possible.

Merengue was made the official music and dance of the Dominican Republic by Rafael Trujillo. Some[who?] say merengue derived from the "paso de la empalizada" (pole-fence step). There are also legends about a limping war hero (or El Presidente of a banana republic himself, in some versions) who had to step in this way while dancing because of wounds, and polite (or clueless) public imitated him[citation needed].

Although the tempo of the music may be frantic, the upper body is kept majestic and turns are slow, typically four beats/steps per complete turn.

In the social dancing of the United States the "empalizada" style is replaced by exaggerated Cuban motion, taught in chain ballroom studios for dances of Latin American origin (Cha-cha-cha, Rumba, Mambo, Salsa).



Reggaeton (also spelled reggaetón, and known as reguetón and reggaetón in Spanish) is a form of urban music which became popular with Latin American youth during the early 1990s and spread over the course of 10 years to North American, European and Asian audiences. Originating in Panama, reggaeton blends Jamaican music influences of reggae and dancehall with those of Latin America, such as bomba, plena, salsa, merengue, latin pop and bachata as well as that of hip hop, contemporary R&B, and electronica. However, reggaeton is also combined with rapping or singing in Spanish. The influence of this genre has spread to the wider Latino communities in the United States, as well as the Latin American audience. While it takes influences from hip hop and Jamaican dancehall, it would be wrong to define reggaeton as the Hispanic or Latino version of either of these genres; reggaeton has its own specific beat and rhythm, whereas Latino hip hop is simply hip hop recorded by artists of Latino descent. The specific rhythm that characterizes reggaeton is referred to as "Dem Bow."[1][2] The name is a reference to the title of the dancehall song by Shabba Ranks that first popularized the beat in the early 1990s. Reggaeton's origins represents a hybrid of many different musical genres and influences from various countries in the Caribbean, Latin America and the United States. The genre of reggaeton however is most closely associated with Puerto Rico, as this is where the musical style later popularized and became most famous, and where the vast majority of its current stars originated. [3][4][5][6]

Reggaeton lyrics tend to be more derived from hip hop than dancehall. Like hip hop, reggaeton has caused some controversy, albeit less, due to alleged exploitation of women [7], and to a lesser extent, explicit and violent lyrics. Further controversy surrounds perreo, a dance with explicit sexual overtones which is performed to reggaeton music. Perreo was the subject of a national controversy in Puerto Rico as reggaeton music and the predominantly lower class culture it derived from, became more popular and widely available.



Salsa refers to a fusion of informal dance styles having roots in the Caribbean (especially in Cuba and North America). The dance originated through the mixture of Mambo, Danzón, Guaguancó, Cuban Son, and other typical Cuban dance forms. Salsa is danced to Salsa music. There is a strong African influence in the music as well as the dance.

Salsa is a partner dance, although there are recognized solo steps and some forms are danced in groups of couples, with frequent exchanges of partner (Rueda de Casino). Improvisation and social dancing are important elements of Salsa but it appears as a performance dance too.

The name "Salsa" is the Spanish word for sauce, connoting (in American Spanish) a spicy flavor[1]. The Salsa aesthetic is more flirtatious and sensuous than its ancestor, Cuban Son. Salsa also suggests a "mixture" of ingredients, though this meaning is not found in most stories of the term's origin. (See Salsa music for more information.)


The name samba likely comes from the Angolan semba (or mesemba), a type of ritual music, but this has been disputed.[citation needed] Portuguese ethnographer and folklorist Edmundo hi Correia Lopes talks about a dance from the Portuguese Guinea to which Brazilian people gave the name of samba, which would be, according to him, a very close relative to Brazilian samba.

According to sambista and samba studies academic Nei Lopes,

The origin of the term samba has always been connected to semba, a Congo-Angolan style of dance characterized by the bellybutton-bump with which the gentleman distinguishes the lady, gesture which was reenacted in old Afro-Brazilian dances. However, much more than bellybutton, the multilingual African term semba also means "pleasing, enchanting" (in Kimbundo), besides "honoring, revering" (in Kikongo). From semba originate disemba and masemba which then yes, mean bellybutton-bump, respectively in Angolan Kimbundo and in Kikongo.

Nei Lopes also points out it should be observed that the bellybutton-bumpy trump, much more than the "gross representation of the sexual act" as was pointed out by Portuguese missionaries of the colonial times, represented an affability, an act of seduction and a reverence from the man towards the woman.

Samba is also a surname among the people of the Wolof nation who primarily live in the Senegambia.


Remember that all of these dances can be fused together creating something different! like sometimes we do Merengue Hip-Hop! Example the  "Walk It Out" song.