Spanish and Dance
Starting dates: every week
Duration: 1 week or more
Lessons: 8 Group Lessons or 4 Personal lessons
Skill levels: from beginner ability level on
Available Dances: Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, Son
Personal lessons (custom schedule) US$25 per hour per person
Group lessons (fixed schedule) US$15 per hour per person
Note: available only as an extension of any Spanish Course. For students who want to learn Spanish and at the same time learn/practice a dance. Available Salsa, Bachata, Merengue.
Basic (no professional) Dance lessons are free @Hispaniola School facilities, once in a week. Professional Dance lessons (not for free) are taight in an external DanceSchool.
The term Salsa is not easily defined. Who invented the Salsa? Cubans, Puerto Ricans? The Salsa is a wonderful mixture of different Latin and Afro Caribbean dances, each of which is an important element in the evolution of this genre.
The Salsa is similar to Mambo in that both have six steps danced in a musical eight-times-counting. The difference with the Mambo is that it executes the movement back and forth, while in Salsa there also moves to the sides.
The Salsa is not just Cuban, even if it is in Cuba that has flourished, thanks to the presence of the French who brought with him the Danzon from Haiti, which was mixed with the African Rumba of Santeria, the Guaguancó and Son Cubano and enriched with the “clave”.
This mixture was achieved in different ways and with variations, in countries like the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Puerto Rico and others. The orchestras of these countries (the most famous one of Perez Prado) brought so their music in Mexico, during its heyday in the film so much that, a short time later, a similar phenomenon also occurred in New York. In fact, these are the two places where we had the greater development of commercial Latin music, mainly due to the ease of investment in that period.
New York has created the word “Salsa” but did not create the dance. The term has become a popular form of naming that mix of Hispanic music of different origins: Rumba, Son Montuno, Guaracha, Mambo, Cha Cha Cha, Danzon, Son, Guaguancó, Cubop, Guajira, Charanga, Cumbia, Plena, Bomba, Festejo , Merengue, and more. Some rhythms maintained their individuality, others have merged in the “Salsa”.
The Salsa is like a tree that has many roots and many branches, but one trunk that unites all. However, what is crucial is that Salsa is played in every corner of the Hispanic world and also receives influences from everywhere. It belongs to everybody and is an example of flexibility and evolution. We must not, therefore, ever think that the Salsa belongs to a single place, and above all you must never think that a style of Salsa is better than another. We know that there is a dance in New York Style, Salsa Cubana, the Puerto Rican Salsa, Salsa Colombiana, Los Angeles Style and others, and there are those who dance ON1 and ON2, but no it is better than others . The nice thing is that every salsa dancer gives all of himself.
El merengue was danced by slaves of African origin who, from the mid-1500s, were brought in chains to work in the fields of sugar cane, under Spanish rule, in that island which is now called the Dominican Republic. Chains on their feet did not allow large movements; but did not prevent the passage of inventing the merengue, which consisted in transferring the weight of the body rhythmically from foot to foot. The typical step ‘dragged’ was launched (so to speak) by a slave who had risen up against the Spaniards and was wounded in the leg: during a party in his honor had performed in dance, despite the disability. The friends did the same movements and unwittingly invented a new dance. Before.
Merengue has had over the centuries a threefold approach:
- dance group
- couple dance
- individual dance
As a dance group, was aimed at wooing: they formed a circle of men and women, possibly alternating, and was placed in the middle (in turn) a young woman of marriageable age. While the circle moving to the rhythm of music, various males of the company threw its hat to the woman at the center. Which decided whether or not to hat suitor who in turn proposed.
As dance couple has maintained the characteristics sensual and erotic dance of courtship. Of course there was, over time, a choreographic evolution, not always shared: first dance took place in a permanent contact (melee) checkers and rider. The guide, by man, was only body. There were (and were not needed) figures encoded. In other words, it was a dance without constraints: instinct and imagination were the natural fuel for a dance which has as its object and purpose as the love in a physical sense. Currently merengue shows a kit of hundreds of figures, drawn worldwide. According to some this is an enrichment of the dance; according to others, it is a distortion. The fact is that today we are used to seeing, increasingly, riders demonstrate their ability to handle the body of the lady through revolutions, counter-revolutions, twisting, volteggiamenti, Casque, etc.
As dance individual has retained the symbolic value of free dance that, on one basic step, allows you to perform a series of movements improvised.
His real diffusion begins with the Thirties encounter with jazz that caused the formation of larger orchestras and in the fifties, with the spread of the genre Latin American in the United States and Europe, the merengue experienced a quite successful: it was also danced on the music of samba and all Afro-Latin rhythms with a very pronounced beat. At the end of the eighties merengue spread in clubs, in a form to the truth faster and almost melodic; the renewed success of this couple dance, as well as polarize attention to the musicians Juan Luis Guerra, Jossie Esteban, Fernando Villalona and groups like the Coco Band, has stimulated the growth of interest in the whole Latin American music
The merengue has been adopted by other cultures, although they have other musical forms, they chose this genre as a basis for developing new sounds and mergers. Although influenced by merengue masters and prominent figures from the golden age of meringue on Dominican soil, managed to give a unique style and bring it to an international level and respect. One of these exponents is the Puerto Rican Elvis Crespo, former backup singer of Mania group. The Merengue is also naturalized in other Latin American countries such as Argentina, where it merged with the tarantella from Italian immigrants and double step Spain, forming in the 90s to native “Quartet” of the province of Córdoba . Also in Honduras, Colombia and Venezuela and Spain (especially in the Canary Islands), where there are groups with merengue repertoire. Not excluding the Angolan Merengue which has been the basis for the dance called the Kizomba
Today the term Bachata means the unique dance and music cultural heritage of the Dominican Republic.
We travel with the mind, we land in the campesinos, in the countryside of the Dominican Republic in the years immediately prior to 1850.
We feel improvised music from a “tres” (guitar), a “bongo” (drum) and a “guira” (that sort of grating), someone who accompanies beating cutlery in a glass … more rubbing sticks in dried shells of papaya …
It is the hour before the sunset of a hot afternoon in the Dominican Republic, women are coming out of the house with bottles of “mamajuana” to serve their men that return from the work, and “guayaba” juices for the kids.
What could be sweeter than to forget an hard day singing or playing daily themes of unrequited love or the difficulties of life. Dancing tight, playing to provoke until the sun sets. Kids go to sleep and we continue on this way, until the gasoline gives strength …
The play is with the couple, bringing the lady always with simplicity, without strong guides, startling her with ever new steps , but keeping her very close. Man must impress the lady, not with the difficulty of the figures, but with the “tumbao”, the swing, the speed of legs and elegance …
The turns are only used to see if the lady is beautiful “behind” as in her face, so she can provoke her partner with winking movements of belt.
So … try this … the next bachata, maybe by Zacarias Fereira, Luis Vargas or Joe Veras … think you are in a Dominican countryside, trying to seduce a beautiful mulatto lady, having a bit of rum in the body … play with notes of tres (the typical guitar ) with the sound of bongo, and the pressing pace of guira …
Let the music, the culture, the passion guide you … there isn’t a more sensual dance …
The musician and writer Laureano Fuentes collected in his book The Arts in Santiago de Cuba, published in 1893, the song “Son de la Má Teodora”, considering it as the first are known. This song appears as written in Santiago de Cuba in 1562 by sisters Micaela and Teodora Gines two libertas black originating in Santo Domingo (The Dominican primacy… There are heated discussions about the paternity of the son between Cuba and the Dominican Republic… The “Son de la Má Teodora” is not the first Cuban son, but a song from Santo Domingo that arrived to Cuba). On the other hand, historians and Danilo Alberto Orozco Muguercia considered wrong that statement, even to put on question the existence of the song, considering it as apocryphal and lacking in historical documents to support their creation. However, it is undeniable that the “Son de la Ma ‘Teodora’ played by Fuentes Matons in 1893, features are present genre of Cuban son, as is the dialogue between soloist and choir.
While it has elements of Bantu and Spanish music, are emerged in eastern Cuba in late nineteenth century. Its origin is closely linked to changüí, considered by some authors as the mother rhythm of the Son. In 1892, the “tresista baracoense” of Haitian descent Manfugás Nene took it from the mountain to the Santiago de Cuba carnival.
The son came from the East to Havana around 1909, coinciding with the transfer of soldiers standing army. The “Cuarteto Oriental”, founded in 1916 and in 1918 became the “Sexteto Habanero” format established bands are hereafter.
With the advent of commercial broadcasting, in the twenties, began popularizing the rise and are, being the “Septeto Nacional” one of the main representatives of that era. Piñeiro was the creator of many famous compositions like “Échale salsita”, the first time the word salsa was used to refer to Cuban music.
The Son evolved giving rise to other genres such as the son montuno, mambo and salsa, but still is played by groups of traditional style in Cuba, Peru, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Colombia, United States, Dominican Republic and the Canary Islands.