The Five Competition Latin Ballroom Dances

Latin ballroom dancing mainly originated in Central America where local residents combined the dance steps they brought with them from Africa with the lively music of Brazil. Latin ballroom dancers usually dance with a straight leg because of the rapid need to change weight. There are five Latin ballroom dances that are particularly popular. Strippers Cincinnati may borrow moves from any of these dance styles.

Cha Cha

The cha cha dance step originated in Cuba. It became quite popular in the United States during the 1950s. This fun dance involves three quick steps followed by two slower steps. Steps are timed to the beat of the music that usually averages about 32 beats per minute.


The samba dance is the most recognized Brazilian dance. Slaves from Angola and the Congo brought the dance with them when they came to Brazil as slaves. Americans became familiar with the samba dance movements through the Broadway play Street Carnival in the 1920s, and through movies starring Fred Astaire. The feet move only a little bit to the 2/4 beat of the music with three steps per measure.


Sometimes called the Latin love dance, the Rumba originated in Cuba. The original rumba dance was a sexual pantomime with the male acting like a very aggressive rooster. Like the samba, this dance has its roots in Africa where it was danced to folk music.

Paso Doble

This dance sometimes spelled pasodobbe is designed to be reminiscent of the matador bullfighter. The male dancer is the bullfighter while the female portrays his cape. Many dancers find this dance difficult to master unless they picture the scene in their head because of the extremely sharp movements. This dance originated in France where it was extremely popular with Paris elite during the 1930s.


The jive dance originated in the United States although it has roots in Africa. The Jive is actually a combination of many different styles with movements drawing heavily on the jitterbug and the swing. During World War II, American soldiers took this dance to Europe with them where it became extremely popular. It is performed with quick steps to 4/4 music performed at up to 44 beats per minute.

These five dances make up the Latin International Ballroom Dance competition. Each has its own history drawing influences from Africa. This competition that has been occurring since 1982 gathers the best dancers from around the world for a series of dance competitions.