The Different Types of Spanish Dancing and Why They’re Unique

Imagine you’re in Seville, Spain, sitting in chair surrounding a raised platform. You’re sipping some sweet Sangria, the room is warm and lit up by dimmed red and pink lights. Suddenly, a woman wearing a long, ruffled dress steps onto the platform and strikes a pose. The band starts to play, and the rest is history.

Spanish dancing is a high-energy, sensual form of dance that’s both fun to watch and do yourself. However, while Spanish and Latin American dance has a similar theme, there are multiple subgenres of this dance form. Arthur Murray Dance Center offers several classes for the various styles of Spanish dancing and we’re sure that at least one will strike a chord with you. Today, on our blog, we thought we’d chat about some of the various forms of Spanish or Latin dancing and why each form is unique. Here are some of the classes we teach:

Argentine Tango

While originally performed by women, the Argentine Tango is danced with a partner and originated in Buenos Aires, Argentina about 150 years ago. When dancing the Tango, both partners move in a synchronized, sensual fashion and implement intimate movements meant to embody romance. The Argentine Tango has since evolved into other forms of Tango which bases itself off of the original form but adds certain movements, like quick head snaps.  

The Argentine Tango is danced to repetitive music, usually to beats of sixteen or thirty-two. Arthur Murray Dance Center finds that students tend to pick up the Tango fairly easily because of these properties. In addition to it being repetitive and easy to pick up, the Tando is extremely fun to dance.


Next time you come across a posh Salsa bar in your favorite city, make sure you’re prepared. Salsa is a popular Latin American dance carried over to the United States from Cuban and Puerto Rican dance styles. Salsa is best defined by the word “spicy” and is probably what you envision when you think of Spanish dancing. This style of dance is normally danced by couples at the beat of four. The basis of it is two quicker steps, followed by a slower, pause-like step, each adding up to a total of four beats. We recommend Salsa lessons for anyone looking to spice up their life. Join with your partner or join alone. This spicy dance is sure to get your blood pumping.


Mambo, similar to the Salsa, has its origins in the Caribbean country of Cuba. The Mambo is unique in that its movements are done in three parts, rather than four or sixteen. Dancing the Mambo is sensual, as it incorporates hip-swaying movements. The Mambo is also generally danced with a partner, but isn’t quite as sensual as the Tango. However, that doesn’t make it any less intimate. The three-beat movements paired with hip-swaying and purposeful steps give it that Latin flair that’s both fun and exciting.

Cha Cha

The Cha Cha is also from Cuba and was birthed from the Mambo dance. While the Mambo incorporates three steps, the Cha Cha essentially triples that by adding three extra, smaller steps between every three beats. Not only is it a faster variation of the Mambo, but it’s also much more fast-paced. Definitely come prepared to get your heart beating as you Cha Cha dance the night away with your partner.  


While the Mambo and Salsa were gaining traction in the Caribbean, the Samba was making waves and getting people moving down in the South American country, Brazil. Samba is danced to a specific style of music also known as Samba. This Brazilian dance style is done both by individuals and by couples, making it a versatile type of dance that can be done by anyone. The pace of the dance depends on the pace of the music which can be either slower or faster.

Thanks for reading today’s post. Arthur Murray Dance Studio offers all of the dance styles mentioned above and we absolutely love every single one. Latin American dance is one of the most notable dance styles worldwide and continues to grow more popular every day. We’d love to see you in one of our classes and urge you to sign up today! See you soon!