Lucas Latin Dance Company Nashville Salsa Dance Lessons and Parties

What is Afro Cuban Styling?

Kendra Lucas

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

This Saturday, August 15th, Lucas Latin Dance will be teaching Afrocuban Styling for Your Casino Partnerwork at the Louisville Salsa Conclave.  The event consists of 4 workshops with instructors from Cincinnati, Louisville, and Nashville and a super salsa social with 2 live bands.  We are really looking forward to this event and sharing with everyone great tips on adding Afro-cuban styling to your dancing.   

What is Afrocuban styling?  The Afro prefix represents the African traditions brought to Cuba by the Yoruba people in the 1820’s due to the slave trade.  Their religion called Regla de Ocha, Regla de Lucumi and/or Santeria involved communicating with the gods through chanting, drumming and dance.   Some of the most common deities, also called orishas, are as follows:

Elegua-the messenger between the human and divine worlds.  His song starts most rituals and ceremonies.
Ogun-god of war
Ochosi-the hunter
Yemaya- the goddess of the ocean and mother of the orishas
Ochun-god of love, fertility, and the river
Chango- the warrior deity of thunder and fire, represents male power and sexuality, and he welds a double headed axe.
Oya- the female warrior, deity of wind, air, and lighting and Chango’s favorite wife
Obatala-the oldest orisha considered the father of the orishas. His color is white and he is the king of the white cloth.  His dance usually closes ceremonies and rituals.

These deities have a huge influence many present day salsa and timba songs.  Many rhythms and lyrics that you hear in these songs reference these Santeria influences.  

The Cuban suffix represents the music and the dances that were created in Cuba by these Africans who were influenced by Spanish guitar and flamenco.  Rumba is one such genre and it was developed in rural Cuba in the 1880’s.   Rumba literally means party and is done strictly for fun, but consists of many of the same body movements as religious dances from Santeria.  There are 3 types of rumba.

Guaguanco-fast-paced drum rhythm accompanies the flirtatious dance between a couple where the man is trying to surprise the lady with a vacunao which is a quick thrust of the pelvis, leg, or arm toward the lady.  The lady reacts by blocking the vacunao and the game continues.
Yambu-the slowest form of rumba that could be danced alone or with a partner, but there is no vacunao.
Columbia-fast-paced, men dancing solo to display their individual creativity, agility, and strength. 

We will be reviewing the basics of Elegua and rumba in our workshop and then show how these body movements can be applied in your partnerwork to enchance the quality of your basic step.  It should be a great one so I hope to see you there!


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