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 a different perspective.
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 also subconsciously letting Spanish lyrics creep in to your brain as well as partaking in the Latin culture!
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.
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, my absolute favourite dances are EL SON CUBANO and CUMBIA.
When I teach my clients to learn Spanish, I encourage them to learn by moving their bodies. In our fun monthly Spanish conversation club Adults meetings sometimes I teach salsa steps and always put Latin music in the background while learning Spanish. So, if you have some spare time - and want to learn two things at once – why not join my fun Facebook Groups! 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!