Hispanic Culture and Arts
El Baile · Dance

Hubo un tiempo en los Estados Unidos en que casi todo el mundo estaba aprendiendo a bailar rumba, salsa o mambo. La popularidad de los bailarines hispanos, muchos de los cuales vivían en Nueva York, desató un gran entusiasmo por el baile que todavía perdura hasta el día de hoy. Aunque muchas personas relacionan el baile hispano con estilos más ampliamente conocidos, los bailarines hispanos y coreógrafos siguen innovando, agregándole el toque latino a otros estilos de baile ya establecidos.

Clubes como el Copacabana, el cual se caracterizaba por su decoración con motivos brasileños y música orquestal hispana, fueron vitales en convertir los estilos de baile hispanos en moda. Los shows de televisión como «I Love Lucy» también contribuyeron a presentar y popularizar los diferentes estilos de baile hispano. En la década de los años cincuenta, los norteamericanos concurrían en gran número a recibir lecciones de baile y los personajes famosos iban a los clubes de Nueva York para que la gente los viera bailando rumba.

El entusiasmo por el baile hispano ha evolucionado desde el mismo momento en que empezó. La compañía El Ballet Hispánico, creada en los años setenta, se convirtió en una de las compañías de ballet más aclamadas del mundo. Los nuevos estilos de baile son el resultado de la creciente diversidad dentro de la comunidad hispana. Estos nuevos géneros de baile integran diferentes formas y por medio de esa fusión, se crean estilos totalmente nuevos. Sin embargo, lo único que no ha cambiado es que Nueva York sigue siendo el epicentro desde donde estos nuevos géneros musicales se hacen extremadamente populares en las comunidades de todo el país.

























There was a time in the United States when almost everyone was learning to rumba, salsa or mambo. The popularity of Hispanic dancers, many of whom were living in New York, generated a dance craze that still lives on today. While many associate Hispanic dance with these more widely known styles, Hispanic dancers and choreographers have been breaking new ground in a variety of new styles while also bringing a distinctive Latin flavor to other existing forms of dance.





















Clubs like the Copacabana, which featured Brazilian decor and Hispanic themed orchestral music, played an important role in making Hispanic dance styles seem fashionable. Television shows like, “I Love Lucy” also helped introduce and popularize various styles of Hispanic dance. By the 1950s, Americans were flocking to dance lessons and celebrities were visiting New York City nightclubs in order to be seen doing the rumba.





















The Hispanic dance craze has evolved since it first began. Ballet Hispanico, formed in the 1970s, in one of the world’s most celebrated ballet companies. New styles of dance, reflective of the growing diversity within the Hispanic community, integrate different forms and through that fusion are creating entirely new styles. One thing that has not changed though is New York’s centrality in making these new forms wildly popular to communities across the nation.

Capacabana Girls put on a performance for spectators, 1948.<br>Courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York
Capacabana Girls put on a performance for spectators, 1948.
Courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York
Dancers perform the “Cha-Cha Taps”, a combination of tap dance with the technical finesse of Latin rhythm dancing at a Cuban organization in New York, ca. 1957 <br>Courtesy of The Justo A. Marti Photographic Collection, Archives of the Puerto Rican Diaspora, Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños, Hunter College, CUNY
Dancers perform the “Cha-Cha Taps”, a combination of tap dance with the technical finesse of Latin rhythm dancing at a Cuban organization in New York, ca. 1957
Courtesy of The Justo A. Marti Photographic Collection, Archives of the Puerto Rican Diaspora, Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños, Hunter College, CUNY
A brochure from the Alameda Room, a cocktail lounge/dance hall. The Amamenda Room coined itself as being ‘A Garden of Spain in the Heart of New York’ and amazing acts like Carlos Arroyo’s “Cha-Cha Taps” were featured there. Courtesy of The Carlos Arroyo Papers, Archives of the Puerto Rican Diaspora,Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños, Hunter College, CUNY
A brochure from the Alameda Room, a cocktail lounge/dance hall. The Amamenda Room coined itself as being ‘A Garden of Spain in the Heart of New York’ and amazing acts like Carlos Arroyo’s “Cha-Cha Taps” were featured there.
Courtesy of The Carlos Arroyo Papers, Archives of the Puerto Rican Diaspora,Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños, Hunter College, CUNY
Tina Ramirez founder of Ballet Hispanico, joins her dancers on stage for a performance, 2009.
Tina Ramirez founder of Ballet Hispanico, joins her dancers on stage for a performance, 2009.
Photograph taken by Eduardo Patino

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