History of Latin Dance

  • Sep 1, 1500

    Discovery of Latin Dance

    Discovery of Latin Dance
    Upon his return to Spain from mainland Brazil, Amerigo Vespucci reported many ceremonial Latin dances he witnessed being performed by natives. These danceswere foundational to many styles of Latin Dance, and Vespucci was one o fthe first to return with knowledge of said performing style to Europe. (Elizabethan, 2012) Amerigo Vespucci Returns
  • Jan 1, 1517

    Birth of the Claves

    Birth of the Claves
    Claves are one of the key instruments used in Latin American dance music as well as its predecessor, Afro-Cuban music. Claves are thought to have first originated from the pegs used by Cuban shipwrights to assemble naval craft. (X8 Drums, 2014). History of Claves
  • Africans Arrive in Cuba

    Africans Arrive in Cuba
    The increase in Slave Trade traffic to Cuba after the British Capture of Havana in 1762 brought about the advent of Afro-Cuban music, ancestor to many forms of modern Latin Dance music. The influx of African culture mixed the percussion beats of African music with pre-existing Cuban pieces. (Childs, 2012, p.24). Slave Trade in Cuba
  • Discovery of Samba

    Discovery of Samba
    In early 1832 a priest by the name of Miguel do Sacramento Lopes Gama described a style of dance he referred to as "samba d'almocreves", eventually evolving into Samba. This style of dance was believed to have originated from African slaves. (Clifford, 2000) Discovery of Samba
  • Formal Genres Take Form

    Formal Genres Take Form
    After 1850, Latin Dance began to develop into fully-fledged genres, based on specific tempos, measure, mood, and energy. Some examples of Latin Dance include: Salsa, Mambo, Merengue, Rumba, Cha Cha Cha, Bachata, and Samba. (Hanson, 2014). Formal Genres
  • Birth of Merengue

    Birth of Merengue
    The national dance of the Dominican Republic and to a lesser extent Haiti, Merengue came into existence around the time of the Spanish-American War. Merengue is a social dance that features heavier foot movement than most Latin Dances. (Dancing Thru LIfe, 2014). Birth of Merengue
  • Samba Introduced in Europe

    Pual Boucher in 1928 published what was the first dance book in Europe (France specifically) that included Latin Dance steps. Samba was one of the first types of Latin Dance to make an appearance, and is one of six competitive Latin Dance formats in Europe today. (Guy, 2006). Samba Introduced in Europe
  • Birth of Salsa

    Birth of Salsa
    Salsa first got its title just before World War II, coined by the Cuban song composer Ignacio Pnerio. Salsa is one of the most well-known social dance styles in Latin Dancing. (Bartch, 2013). Birth of Salsa
  • Conga Line Popularized

    Following the Rumba craze of the 1930's, Don Aspiazu started the big band craze that popularized Latin music. The film industry popularized Latin music with Desi Arnaz, who ended up creating and popularizing the conga line dance. (Alba, 2014)
  • First World Latin Dance Championship

    First World Latin Dance Championship
    The first World Latin American Championship took place in 1953, covering six different Latin Dance categories and bringing Latin Dance to the professional stage internationally for the first time. (International Championship Programme, 2009). Latin American Dance Championships
  • Fania Records Formed

    Fania Records Formed
    Fania Records was formed in 1964 by musician Johnny Pacheco and Italian divorce lawyer Jerry Masucci. Their record label, commonly referred to in Latin America as "La Fania" became one of the most influential record labels in Latin American history, commonly referred to as "The Latin Motown". (Dance in Time, 2014)
  • Salsa Hits New York

    Salsa began to form from Mambo and Cha Cha Cha in New York in the mid 1970's. New York Style led to the creation of LA and Miami-style of salsa dancing. (Wikipedia, 2014). Salsa Arrives in New York