South American topography is as beautiful and enthralling as its cultural diversity. It is known to every art enthusiast that South America is marked by its music, literature, and of course, its dance forms. They have influences that extend beyond the land and are as difficult to learn as they are captivating to see. By Shubhanjana Das
1. Caporales, Bolivia
Compared to the old Bolivian indigenous traditions and culture, the caporales in a relatively new dance form, invented only in the 1960s. The dance form has its roots in the saya dance practiced by the African slaves in the Yungas region of the country. The caporales is a unique and a certainly entertaining blend of Andean rhythms and instruments, older Bolivian dance forms, and the African culture.
2. Bachata, Dominican Republic
The bachata dance form is named after the bachata guitar music and is characterised by exaggerated hip movements, a regular occurrence in Latin dance forms. It looks extremely elegant and needs quite some dedication and effort to master.
3. Cueca, Chile
Something that is extremely unique to Latin dance forms is their connection to each other and their shared colonial past. The cueca, regarded as an adaptation of the Peruvian zamacueca, is a dance form that represents the courting of a rooster and a chicken. Yes, you read that right. Hand-claps and tambourines help maintain the upbeat tempo throughout the performance, keeping the audience engaged without fail.
4. Pasillo, Ecuador
Hailed as the most iconic Ecudorian folk dance, the Pasillo is a departure from the upbeat rhythm and tempo signature to Latin dance forms. It is an adaptation of the European waltz. However, it is worth noting that every region and city of Ecuador has its own rendition of the pasillo.
5. Joropo, Venezuela
Another dance form whose beats are steeped in the colonial past of Venezuela, the joropo is extremely energetic, enthusiastic and upbeat! It is rooted in the popular dance form flamingo and is characterised by the hand clapping and foot stomping, marking a celebration of the Venezuelan farmers and life on the plains.