CARIBBEAN OR LATIN AMERICAN DANCES: Do you know what the difference is?

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It is easy to confuse Caribbean dances with Latin Americans. Those who are not in the trade can confuse the two disciplines, due to their sensual rhythm, which combines fast steps and engaging music.

 In truth there are precise differences between the two dance styles, which tell different Latin worlds.

Latin American dances

There are five Latin American dances and they are part of a category of couple dances also for competition. You know the races on television where you can admire dream clothes and couples who seem to move as if they were one body? Here, those competitions are often centered around the five Latin American dances, which are:

  • cha cha cha
  • samba
  • rumba
  • paso doble
  • Jive

CHA CHA CHA, the dance taught to children

You would never expect it because of the name but the cha cha cha comes from Cuba and bears this name thanks to the Cuban composer Enrique Jorrin. Widespread in the fifties and much loved in its land, it is one of the first Latin American dances that is taught in courses attended by children.

A little curiosity: cha cha is also the name of the Cuban rattle that is used while dancing.

La Samba, Brazilian rhythm 

There are those who call it samba (Brazilians above all), others call it samba. We are talking about the Latin American dance, which comes from Brazil, more precisely from Salvador de Bahia, and which brings joy to every step. Engaging and dynamic, it is one of the most tiring Latin dances to learn, both for the steps of the choreography and for the waste of energy.

The Paso Doble, a show of great character

The paso doble originates from Spain, and was born as music for the quadrille parades. The choreography takes up the typical figures of bullfighting, in which the man is the matador, the bullfighter, while the woman represents the head or the red cloak used to deceive the bull. It is a role-playing game, an interpretation of a tradition with dance steps.

Rumba, dance of love

Rumba is considered the most sensual Latin American dance of all. Also known as the "dance of love" for its erotic and sensual charge, it was also born in Cuba. The rumba mixes the typical movements of flamenco and tango, bringing with it African and Cuban origins. This dance only landed in Europe after the war.

A curiosity? The term rumba means "popular festival".

The Jive, the dance that recalls the boogie

The jive was born as a variation of the swing, starting from the thirties in North America. With hops and figures in the choreography, it takes dynamism and training to dance it.

Caribbean dances

 The three main Caribbean dances are bachata, salsa and merengue. They have the characteristic of uniting the couple, with close contact with each figure.
Considered easy to learn, over time they have become more and more fashionable and have fascinated more and more people, involving people of all ages.


Bachata comes from the Dominican Republic, well known in the poorer classes. It has a delicate and sensual rhythm, which interprets love in all its nuances and in the past it was not well regarded by the bourgeois class because it was considered too "vulgar". 


Salsa develops into various dance styles and is deeply rooted in the cultures in which it originated. What is known in the West is the show sauce, less street-style and it is more figurative. Among the different styles there is the Cuban salsa, the Venezuelan, the Colombian and also the New York Style, danced in the famous film of the nineties Dirty Dancing.


The merengue, on the other hand, has African origins and is one of the oldest Caribbean dances. In the past, in the tribes where he was born, the woman remained in the center of a circle and waited for the hat to be thrown to decide whether to dance with her suitor. Precisely for this reason, dancing is associated with sensual courtship.

Everything is figuring out which dance you like best and which course you would like to enroll in to learn how to dance. Have you already chosen which one is your favorite?