10 Most Popular Latin Dance Styles In The World

The world of Latin dance can be somewhat ambiguous and perplexing. We get it. That's why we've put together this succinct breakdown of styles in the genre and how they differ. 

When it comes to Dancesport, performers in the Latin dance division compete in the styles of samba, paso doble, cha-cha-cha, rumba, and the jive. 

However, in the realm of social dance, there are many more Latin styles that fall under this umbrella. Salsa and bachata are arguably the two most popular styles among social dancers. Festivals and workshops, called congresses, are held all over the world as well as international competitions specific to these styles. Check out the full list of Latin dances below.

1) Salsa

Said to have originated in the Caribbean, Salsa is one of the most entertaining and practiced social dances in the world today. There are multiple subcategories within the genre of salsa. 



2) Merengue

The dance and music of merengue originated in the Dominican Republic. Although the music is fast paced, the basic steps are fairly easy to master. 



3) Bachata

This dance also originated in the Dominican Republic and is known for being a slower more sensual dance with heavy emphasis on body isolation and strong hip movements. 



4) Cha-Cha-Cha

This dance originated in Cuba and is similar to the mambo. Its name is derived from the sound the the dancers' shoes make while dancing to this style of music. In the U.S., the dance is simply known as the cha-cha.



5) Rumba 

The rumba is interesting in that it has changed over the years, and there are varying distinctive styles of the dance. The origins of rumba are rooted in Cuban son music, which has a blend of Spanish and African influences. However, the rumba is danced to various styles that are typically slower in pace and deep in emotion. 



6) Samba

This dance is of Afro-Brazilian origin and is very popular in Brazil. The samba is known for requiring quick feet and high energy. It can be danced as an individual or as a couple. 



7) Paso Doble

Paso doble is known as the dance of the bullfight. This is a strong dance that originated in France but was adopted and molded by the Spanish and Portuguese. It isn't commonly danced in social settings but rather reserved for competition. 



8) Jive

Jive dancing originated in the U.S. and was made popular by the African American community. It is performed with high energy similar to swing dance. 



9) Mambo 

This dance originated in Cuba during the 1940s. Perez Prado is credited as having created the dance, although modern mambo is starkly different from the mambo that was started by Prado. Mambo is less structured than other disciplines in the genre and heavily emphasizes feeling the music. 



10) Argentine Tango

The Argentine tango was birthed in Argentina and Uruguay, and although it originated in those countries, its influences span the globe. It's a dance of emotion and depth and relies deeply on improvisation. 


Recap | Battle in Shanghai at GrandSlam Latin Finals

During the course of this Saturday, December the 8th of 2018, we all had the chance to witness the WDSF GrandSlam Finals of the Latin division. Let me be the first to say, this was quite the fantastic show! Not only was the dancing pure magic, but the arena was cozy, the audience was welcoming, and the arrangement of the final made the night that much more exciting and at the same time, nerve-wracking, to watch. Before we dive into exploring what happened during the final, let us rewind a little bit to see how everything got started.

Preview | GrandSlam Finals Standard Shanghai

2018 WDSF GrandSlam Shanghai Standard Hype

Sunday, December 9th, 2018 will decide the crowing champions of the WDSF GrandSlam Finals in the Standard discipline. The entire year leading up to these Finals is essential in terms of GrandSlam participation and ranking for the couples that aim to be a part of this concluding event. The World DanceSport Federation hosts five GrandSlams throughout the year, and the Finals decides ultimately, the champion couple of the entire series for that year. 

Preview | What to Expect at GrandSlam Finals Latin

2018 WDSF GS Shanghai Latin Hype

Throughout the course of this upcoming weekend, the World DanceSport Federation will be hosting one of the most anticipated events of the entire year: the GrandSlam Finals, to be held in the city of Shanghai in the People's Republic of China. As an athlete of the WDSF, becoming a part of these Finals is a true achievement, one that comes depicting a couple’s performances of that entire year in regards to GrandSlams. The top twelve couples for each discipline are chosen based on their GrandSlam ranking positions, positions compiled based on performances of each GrandSlam attended. 

Eyes up! A Few Legit (Or Not So Legit) Reasons We Look Down When We Dance

Stop looking down!

How many times did you hear that when you were first learning to dance?  Maybe you still get caught checking out that sexy wooden floor. Don’t worry, it happens to everyone, especially when we’re trying a new or difficult step. Our eyes drop. It’s apparently very difficult to think and look straight ahead at the same time. It’s like we think the floor we’re dancing on is as rocky as our brains feel trying to remember the timing. One wrong move, and we could stumble and fall. Then a dance partner is put in front of us, and we can’t move our feet unless our eyes are glued to them. 

Recap | World Championship Standard

There it is! Dmitry Zharkov and Olga Kulikova take their fourth title as undefeated WDSF Standard World Champions, the first couple to ever win a WDSF World Championship four years in a row! Not only did they make history, but they also paved the way for upcoming generations to aim for even higher goals in their competitive careers.

Preview | Standard World Championship Vienna

This Saturday, November 17th, the World DanceSport Federation will be sanctioning one of its most prestigious events of the year – the Standard World Championship. This event will be taking place as part of the Austrian Open Championships, a renowned event that usually sanctions a WDSF World Championship each year. It is popularly known to host the WDSF Latin World Championship and last hosted the Standard World Championship in 2014.

Recap | WDSF World Ten Dance

Being a ten dance athlete is not just about physical endurance, but also about mental and emotional stamina. This is what made the difference for the champions of the night. We saw a part of each of these aspects yesterday at the 2018 WDSF World 10 Dance Championships that took place in Warsaw, Poland. The heat was definitely on, and the competition was top notch, especially when it came down to the finals.

Preview | World Ten Dance Championship

2018 World Ten Dance Warsaw Hype

This upcoming weekend, the Polish Cup International Dance Festival will be hosting the 2018 Adult Ten Dance World Championship in the city of Warsaw, Poland. 38 couples from 38 countries are on the starting list and ready for the showdown to take place this Saturday, November the 10th. 

Recap | WDSF GrandSlam Standard Moscow

What a conclusion to the 2018 Russian Open Championships! The World DanceSport Federation’s fifth Standard GrandSlam of the year is now complete and what a night it was! The crowd went wild for our finalists, three of which were Russian favorites. Dmitry Zharkov and Olga Kulikova took yet another win under their belt with a purely flawless presentation throughout the entire event. Their quickstep solo presentation of the final scored them their strongest score for this GrandSlam, a 39.124 out of 40.000 points possible. They were the only couple in this Standard GrandSlam to achieve a score in the 39.000 percentile!

Recap | WDSF GrandSlam Latin Moscow

The fifth and concluding Latin GrandSlam of the World DanceSport Federation has officially finished for the year of 2018, the top Latin WDSF couples will make their way to Shanghai this December for what is known as the GrandSlam Series Final.  Let’s take a look over what has happened here at the Russian Open Championships just yesterday.