How to Dance the Puerto Rican Danza
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There are no special abilities required to be able to dance our Danza correctly. Remember that it was created precisely to substitute the contradanza because it imposed very rigid movements and choreographies on its dancers. The Danza is for the enjoyment of the dancers as a couple, and of those who listen to their beautiful melodies. To dance it correctly you just have to follow these simple directions:
During the introduction, also called "paseo" (which means something like "to walk by") the lady interlaces her left arm with the gentleman's and just walk around the ballroom very elegantly, saluting everyone (so that others can admire the lady's dress and "her beauty"). Usually, ladies use a fan and while walking they move it very graciously. It is said that our grandmothers used a special sign language with the fan to convey different messages to the gentlemen at dances.
At the end of "the paseo" the couple performs a salute, with the gentleman making an almost imperceptible reverence with his head.
So begins the dance: The gentleman holds the lady by her waist with his right hand, and with his left hand in a right angle position holds the lady's right hand. She rests her left hand over his chest (so that she can control the distance between them and push him back if he tries any undesired advance).
Couples move freely, but without almost lifting their feet from the floor. Thighs should not be moved. Every couple moves freely to the rhythm of the music, doing some turns and keeping the rhythm until the end of the music, at which time the gentleman takes the lady back to her chair.
Photos taken by Luciano Quiñones during the0 XXXII National Danza Week (2004) at Casa de España in Old San Juan. The dancers belong to Doña Rafaela Balladares' Danza group and the Dance Group of the Municipality of Ponce. All rights reserved. Their reproduction or use by any means is strictly prohibited without the express written permission from Luciano Quiñones (Luciano@LaDanza.com).
Video Clips of couples dancing the Danza