Latin American dance and music is sultry and physical. Salsa and the more popular Latin dances were created and embraced into Latin culture as early as 1791. Latin American music has had a large influence on the form the dances have today. It was the mariachi bands of Mexico that stirred up the quick paced rhythms and playful movements at the same time that Cuba was embracing similar musical and dance styles. Traditional dance was blended with new, modern ways of moving, and became a whole new dance rage. The dances from those days evolved and were influenced by modern music as the sexy style and hip gestures became more accepted.
There are stories claiming that when Elvis performed live on television, broadcasters could only show him from the waist up. Considering this, a Latin ballroom competition would have had significant difficulties being broadcast in the United States. Contemporary America is very accepting of these dances. You can find Latino night in most dance clubs. Ballroom studios teach lessons on many Latin American dances. One can even find the cha-cha being done in honky-tonk country bars. Miami has been a large contributor of the United States’ involvement in Latin dancing. With such a huge Puerto Rican and Cuban population one can find Latin dancing and music in the streets at any time of day or night.
The dances of Latin America are derived from and named for the type of music they are danced to. Mambo, Salsa, Cha-cha-cha, Rumba, Merengue, Samba, Flamenco, Bachata, and the Tango are among the most popular. Each of the types of music has specific steps that go with the music, the counts, the rhythms, and the style.
The style of Latin American dancing is very risqué. These dances for the most part are done with a partner as a social dance, but there is never a reason not to dance by oneself. The music is so inviting one would be hard pressed to hear a Latin beat and not see everyone feeling the rhythm. However, there are many conservatives that are offended by the extreme hip movement and the connection between partners. Many of the dances are done in a close embrace while others are more traditional to ballroom dancing and hold a stronger frame.
All dancing evolves, and Latin dancing has made many contributions to other types of dances we have today. The music is still popular as well. Many popular artists are modernizing the music while there are others who hold true to their traditional roots. Either way there will be more Latin dancing to come, but luckily the traditional dances are being embraced and conserved just as strongly.
Apart from what here is called "social dancing" there are lots of traditional, but as well modern and popular dances in the different Latin American countries which are nearly totally unknown outside although they might be danced by thousands of dancers during the Carnival and other big religious and non-religious events. Some of these dances are: Samba Brazil, San Juanito Ecuador, Huaylas and Marinera Peru, Caporales, Morenada, Diablada, Kullawada, Tobas, Huayño, Mohoseñada, Pujllay and Tinku in Bolivia as well as Chacarera, Gato (in Argentina and Bolivia and Cueca (in Argentina, Bolivia and Chile).