An Ageless Culture of Dance in Costa Rica

When you travel to Costa Rica, exploring the country and immersing yourself in the culture is paramount. One important aspect of the culture is dance. Children are taught from a young age the dance steps for many of the common and traditional dances. Modern options are available in the discos, but traditional dances play a big part in Costa Rican life. Let’s take a deeper look at dance in Costa Rica.

There are four major kinds of dance in Costa Rica:

  1. Salsa
    Salsa dance was popularized in Cuba. It consists of quick steps and sensual movements all to a fast beat. The rhythm is a three-step that’s danced over a four-beat measure. The man leads, completing spins and complicated steps.
  2. Merengue
    Merengue is one of the most popular types of dance music. Fast footwork and swaying hips make this two-step dance amazing to watch. It’s a sensual dance, with couples together in a tight circle, while the man leads.
  3. Cumbia
    Cumbia dance has a more tropical beat. Originating from Columbia, this dance has a 4/4 rhythm made up of mostly drums and percussion. However, Costa Ricans have made this dance their own with fancy footwork and hopping moves borrowed from jive and swing dance.
  4. Folk Dance
    Traditional folkloric dances are popular at festivals and parades. Each dance tells a different story with complex dance steps and colorful costumes. The Punto Guanacasteco is one of the most popular dances of this type in Costa Rica.

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