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Dance as Intercourse of Different Cultures

By Tyson Sieger Subscribe to RSS | March 15th 2012 | Views:
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Some of the world's most famous dances were developed in colonial regions where contrasting cultures lived side by side and occasionally clashed. For example, the rumba, tango, and salsa came from former European colonies in Latin America. People’s eye for beauty and natural sense of rhythm enabled them to incorporate European, African, and aboriginal dance styles, which is how the Brazilians and Cubans developed the tango and the cha-cha-cha.

Latin American cultures are the result of centuries of mingling between European, Native American, and some African influences. In parts of what is now known as the Central and South Americas, the people lived in a highly urbanized society even before the arrival of European colonizers. These colonizers introduced their culture to the natives, who gradually adopted it as their own. Language, clothing, architecture, cuisine, and dance from the Old World became widespread among the natives and became assimilated among inhabitants in the New World.

Dance is a distinct cultural imprint in this colorful, multiethnic part of the world. People danced to entertain themselves and pass the time; it was also their way of bonding with one another. Along the way, some European dances were performed using indigenous music, with the steps continuously modified until they became what are now known as ballroom dances. Some dances, like the cha-cha-cha, shows some influence of flamenco, which originates from the Spanish region of Andalusia.

The cha-cha-cha was developed in Mexico and Cuba and accompanied with the music of the same name. It has a distinct rhythm—in four-four time signature (4/4) counted as “four-and-one, two, three” or “two, three, cha-cha-cha,” distinct flavorful variations from the conventional “one, two, three, four” count. The dance Indianapolis studios teach involves basic footwork and hip movement, while advanced techniques provide the dance with a little more sensuality that Latin American dances are known for

When African slaves were brought to the Americas, they added their own flavor to the Latin dances. They brought the candombe ritual dances to America, primarily in Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil, where it was sung and danced through the night with barrel-shaped drums called tamboriles. These same drums were later used in the dance that developed into the tango, taught in advanced dance lessons Indianapolis dance aficionados love.

Tango is a complex and sensual dance. Professional dance competitions highlight tango as having many interesting variations and improvisation. Dance studios in Indianapolis allow some freedom with the tango while encouraging partners to exercise trust and mutual respect.

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