Let your body teach you Spanish!
By marthajesty, Mar 21 2018 09:39PM
I used to be a Zumba instructor and when I was doing the routines I would speak to my class in Spanish - it was so much fun! Uno, dos, tres, derecha, izquierda, muy bien... They would learn Spanish with me while losing calories. Studies have shown that movement helps you to learn a new skill, even when the skill you are learning is not a physical one. Among other things, it increases the blood flow to your brain and it helps you to view the same piece of information from different perspectives.
One of my favourite things in life is dancing. As well as being a really fun social activity it can also be a total learning experience. Think about it… if you’re dancing to Latin American music you’re subconsciously letting Spanish lyrics creep in to your brain, as well as partaking in the Latin culture! Which of the following Latin American dances are familiar to you?
Latin American Dances
Salsa is the most popular and is danced all over Latin America. It’s a fusion of Cuban, Caribbean and Puerto Rican rhythms, including the Cha Cha, but became really commercial in the 1970’s when New York added jazz to the mix as well. There are lots of different styles of Salsa. Watch a video of some Salsa dancing in action here from the Mundo Latino website. I heard about these local Latin dance classes through the Facebook group that I organise called Chessington News and Events, and can personally recommend them.
If you’ve already tried Salsa and want something a little different, there is Bachata. Said to have originated in the rural neighbourhoods of the Dominican Republic, Bachata is now rivalling Salsa as the most popular Latin American dance. It’s very popular over here too, but the UK version is a little too spicy for me! Another dance originating from the Dominican Republic is the Merengue - a traditional folk dance. If you want to learn to dance and are new to the whole thing, it is the easiest of the Latin American dance styles to learn.
One of my absolute favourite dances is El Son Cubano – it’s amazing and my son, Daniel, and I love it. It is typical music from Cuba and is a mixture of Spanish and African influences. There are many other dances that I could talk about, such as the Mambo and Cumbia, but unfortunately there isn’t enough room on this page!
When I am teaching my clients to learn Spanish, I encourage them to learn by moving their bodies. In my Peruvian Cooking Classes we also dance to Latin music and sing as we cook. So, if you have some spare time - and want to learn two things at once – why not learn Latin dancing! You get to meet new people, practice Spanish and experience a different culture all at the same time. And I promise the music will make you happy!
Do you like to Salsa? Where do you do it?