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Culture —– Baile y año nuevo

by Brandi

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January 4th, 2010

With the New Year’s Celebration only a few days away, I have decided to forego our regularly scheduled topic and share some information about New Years culture and baile (dance) among the Latin people. I want you to learn Spanish and learn about the amazing Spanish culture.

If you turn on the television in the United States on New Year’s Eve, you’ll probably see Dick Clark, the Apple dropping in New York, hoards of people in time square making as much noise as possible, famous singers, and even some people dancing.

If you turn on the T.V. in Latin America, or in the U.S. to a Latin channel, chances are you will see dancing, dancing, and more dancing. The Latin people love to dance. We discussed briefly about Latin music and dancing in a newsletter earlier this year, but I want to spend a little more time on it today. Latin music is rich in culture; there is Salsa music, Meregue music, Tango music, and many other types of wonderful types of Latin music. The most popular and widely danced are probably the Salsa and the Merengue. They have a wonderful sound and beat. Unlike in the U.S. where you just move your body around to music (I’m exaggerating a little), dancing to Latin music usually takes a little bit more practice. As I mentioned in an earlier newsletter, Latin parties (fiestas) always have dancing. If there is a Latin party without dancing, it is quite simply not called a “fiesta” (party).

When and if you turn on the T.V. this “Año nuevo” (New Year’s Eve), be sure to spend at least a few minutes watching the Latin channel(s) so you can get a good flavor for Latin music, dancing, and culture. I personally love to watch and listen to all types of Latin music. Trying to dance to it can also be quite fun. For “Año nuevo” in the past, I have gone Latin dancing with my wife and some Latin friends and we all loved it. They had a big buffet-type dinner first with Latin food, and then we all danced for hours. I have to say, I am not a great Latin dancer but I loved trying to dance and being surrounded by the Latin culture.

I would be excited if some of you, after reading this newsletter, decided to go Latin dancing for “Año nuevo”. If you do, please drop me a line afterwards and let me know how it went. I would love to hear from you.

For those of you who like dancing and want to get a taste for Latin culture, dancing, and practice some Spanish at the same time, I highly recommend enrolling in a Latin dance class; and if it were me, I would choose Salsa dancing. Like learning Spanish, enrolling in a Latin dance class can be a great New Year’s Resolution!

¡Próspero Año Nuevo! (Happy New Year!)

¡Hasta luego! (“Until later”)
David S. Clark — President / Director
U.S. Institute of Languages

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