Dance Music Latin – Origins, Styles and Influences

Dance music latin, like that created by Daddy Yankee and Luis Fonsi’s hit single ‘Despacito’ or Colombian Karol G and Nicki Minaj’s collaboration, is a multifaceted form. This article will examine its history, styles and influences.

Salsa originated from New York City’s Latin melting pot during the 1940s. This genre fuses Afro-Cuban and Puerto Rican musical traditions with rock and jazz styles.


Latin music is one of the world’s most diverse musical forms, drawing its influence from diverse styles in Southern Europe, Africa and native American cultures – making it ideal for dance.

Latin music’s primary characteristic is rhythm, an integral component that makes up every song. One popular rhythmic pattern known as the clave can be found both son clave and rumba clave songs – both using alternating patterns of doubled and tripled notes to produce driving beats perfect for dancing.

Latin music’s rhythmic patterns stem from its hybrid nature; an amalgam of European guitars and instruments mixed with African conga and tambora drums as well as native gaita flutes to produce an array of styles and rhythms. Additionally, Cuban and Puerto Rican musicians from the 1940s to 50s created salsa music through mixing elements from their respective cultures such as jazz/big band sounds by Machito with folk elements such as bomba and plena to create fast danceable styles like salsa.

Merengue, created in Dominican Republic musicians during the 1960s, is another well-loved Latin dance genre. Inspired by Cuban son, this sensually charming genre draws from elements from mambo, rumba and cha cha to form its distinctive sound and aesthetic. It takes its name from Spanish for “sugar,” reflecting its charm and sensuality; today merengue remains popular with young and old audiences alike and can even be heard featured in songs by Romeo Santos’ songs.

Reggaeton first gained popularity during the 1990s. A hybrid genre that blends West Indian reggae and Latin music, this genre witnessed unprecedented success thanks to artists like Daddy Yankee and Luis Fonsi releasing hit singles that reached global audiences.

Bachata, another genre born out of Latin and Caribbean music, was pioneered by Dominican Republic musicians in the 1960s. It features Caribbean and West Indian sounds with heavy salsa rhythm, with instruments such as lead guitar, segunda guitar, bongos congas timbales drums, as well as lyrics sung in high voices to accompany.


Latin music is predominantly rhythmic, making its beat the central focus. This genre uses an intricate pattern known as a clave that utilizes two-paired beats and threes to produce an irresistibly danceable beat; two main claves from Puerto Rico include son clave and rumba clave.

Reggaeton is an increasingly popular genre that blends elements from various genres, such as dancehall and hip hop music, with Latin rhythms to produce its distinct sound. Heavy drumming and percussion loops give Reggaeton its distinct sound while its vocal style tends to be fast-paced and upbeat.

Merengue is another beloved form of Latin music. Typically focusing on romance and relationships, its lyrics often explore themes related to affection or flirtatiousness – making it perfect for dancing!


Latin music’s cultural mix-and-marriage with that from Europe, Africa, and Indigenous people of the Americas resulted in a striking array of styles that has evolved through time. One such synthesis can be seen most vividly in salsa’s distinct beat – known as “clave” (alternating patterns of twos and threes) played on bongos, congas, and timbales by three drummer sections; its lyrics often tell stories or convey emotions.

Merengue dance originated in the Dominican Republic. The term derives its name from “meringue,” suggesting its sweet, seductive nature that makes it suitable for dancing. Today’s top merengue artists include Romeo Santos and Monchy y Alexandra.

Bachata, another Dominican Republic musical form, combines elements of merengue, Bolero and Son Cubano into a less sophisticated genre of its own. Traditional instruments for Bachata include nylon stringed guitars, maracas and guiros but electric guitars and bass are becoming more widespread as electric versions gain in popularity. Artists who have made a mark for themselves in Bachata include Luis Fonsi, J Balvin and Daddy Yankee – just to name a few!

Reggaeton is one of the most beloved Latin dance music forms. It emerged when West Indian immigrants working on Panama Canal combined Jamaican and Panamanian reggae music with traditional salsa for work purposes, creating an infectious blend of R&B, hip hop, funk and tropical musical framework which has since found global fame thanks to Drake, Ed Sheeran, Shakira among others.


The year 1492 holds immense significance in world history. That year saw one European adventurer make their discovery of the “New World”, but unfortunately he would spend much of his time there uprooting ancient civilizations and forcing his way of living onto those living there. One positive aspect was however the abundance of music introduced into their new region.

African culture brought over as part of the slave trade had an immense effect on what has come to be known as Latin music today. From bold rhythms and rich traditions of Africa came all of the key elements that now define many varieties of latin dance music today.

Latin music’s hallmark characteristic is its rhythmic beats, created through patterns of paired and tripled notes which combine to produce an infectious dance beat perfect for dancing. Although there may be formal rules associated with dancing to this type of music, its spirit often dictates more than its precise structure; dancers can express themselves freely through movements they create themselves and make up patterns independent from strict regulations or follow them exactly.