Colombian Dance

Though salsa, vallenato and reggaeton are by far the most ubiquitous of dances to be found on the floors of Colombian nightclubs, the country has a rich dance culture that dates far back and has many variations.
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Cumbia Dance in ColombiaThe most popular of these (which is also found in clubs) is cumbia. Cumbia is a mix of Spanish and African music that originates on the Atlantic Coast. The dance is based on the experience of slaves, although the modern incarnation of the dance is more of a courtship ritual - the male bowing to his female partner with a hand behind his back and the other holding a hat, as she spins courteously around him, holding her dress as she turns.

In clubs you'll also often find merengue being played, which actually originates in the West Indies. Merengue is a very simple dance to perform, and involves an almost military style stepping action mixed with basic spins.

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Another style of music and dance is porro (which also means a joint, so be careful what you say to the DJ). Porro is a joyful style of music originating around the area of Sucre. It resembles big band or military music, and the dance is both formal and representative of the spirit of the music.
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In Cartagena and further along the Caribbean coast the dance of Mapale is popular. Mapale, an energetic dance influenced heavily by African movements.

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Folk Dance ColombiaBambuco is the most popular style of Colombian music and dance to be found in the Andean Zone. Couples usually dance together to the music. Bambuco is one of the most influential dances in Colombia and, although the style isn't popular today, its influence still resonates in many other dances and in many cultures.

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There are many other Colombian dances to be discovered in the country: Paseo, Son, Danza, Pasillo (like a European waltz) and Galeron just to name a few. Colombia is a culturally rich and diverse country, and its dance and music perfectly reflects that. It's easy to be intimidated by the locals' skills, but don't be, they're welcoming and want you to dance, even if you feel you've got two left feet.

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