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What to Expect at a Latin Night in a Nightclub/Bar and How to Dance Reggaeton with Your Girl/Boyfriend or By Yourself

Updated on January 25, 2017
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Anya Brodech is a professional salsa, latin, swing and ballroom dance teacher in Oakland CA. Visit her website, YouTube channel and Facebook

Have You Been a "Latin Night" before?

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What "Latin Night" Means at a Club or Bar

Generally, bars or nightclubs that host "Latin Nights" are geared towards the local Latino/Hispanic population. It's generally intended for Spanish-speaking individuals who enjoy listening and dancing to popular contemporary Spanish music in genres like pop, rock, bachata, and especially reggaeton. They also play American hip-hop as well. Depending on the crowd, the DJ can play salsa, cumbia, and meregenue. However, most places won't play many songs (if any) that require formal training to know how to dance, just like in your usual nightclub.

Overall, you can consider it as the Latino version of a regular nightclub with everyone dressed very sexy, socializing, drinking, loud music, and very up close and personal dancing.

A Music Video that Kind of Resembles What a Latin Night Could Actually Look Like- The Song is "Fiesta in the Disco" by Blackhouse feat. Mike Feenix

What Reggaeton Music Is Like

For those of you who aren't familiar with it, I think Reggaeton can be best described as the Hispanic/Latino version of American hip-hop, with a characteristic heavy bass rhythm, but more tropical and sexy than American hip-hop. And just like hip-hop, reggaeton originated as an urban "street" phenomenon that gradually made its way into mainstream as an acceptable and popular genre of music. It's very tough, provocative, and urban in nature like hip-hop. If you watch reggaeton music videos, you'll find them heavily populated with aggressive looking male singers and scantily clad attractive women.

Some famous/popular reggaeton artists are Daddy Yankee, Nicky Jam, J. Balvin, J Alvarez Pitbull, Wisin & Yandel, Don Omar, Khriz & Angel, Tony Dize, Plan B, Farruko and many more. Personally, I think that Daddy Yankee is most synonymous is with Reggaeton and is one of the most widely recognized artists, especially by English-speakers (he made the famous "Gasolina" and "Rompe" songs)

Different Types of Reggaeton

Just like with hip-hop, there are different kinds of reggaeton. Some songs are more aggressive and hyper-sexual, while others are more sensitive and romantic. There are a lot of different varieties and if you poke around on YouTube you will be sure to find some that you like. Just compare and contrast the three following videos and you'll see what I mean.

"Plakito" by Yandel ft. El General Gadiel, Farruko

"La Curiosidad" by Maluma

"Nadie Te Amara Como Yo" by Dyland & Lenny

Dancing reggaeton is not much different than dancing hip-hop, both involve a lot of hip-motion to the rhythm of the music and full body expression
Dancing reggaeton is not much different than dancing hip-hop, both involve a lot of hip-motion to the rhythm of the music and full body expression | Source

How to Dance Reggaeton at a Nightclub or Bar

Dancing reggaeton is not much different than dancing hip-hop with a lot of hip-motion and grinding, while trying to look as cool, tough, and sexy as possible. Usually it's danced in couples, holding each other somewhat closely, with your legs between each others, your hips touching, and rotating your hips together as one entity in a circular motion to the beat of the music. It's a very sexy dance and is considered as an urban "street" dance that is only done in nightclub/party settings.

You can dance reggaeton in other ways depending on if you are there with a group of friends or with a date. The main idea though is to move your hips/body in time with that bass beat (the "boom, ba, boom, ba, boom...").

Usually counts of 4 or 8 are easiest to dance. You'll also being using your legs a lot if you're moving up and down, so pace yourself and don't keep "dropping it low" til you can't get back up.

I recommend looking at what other people are doing on the dance floor before you start in case you are nervous/unsure about what to do, so this way you can get an idea of what the norm is there in case you are worried about looking out of place.

The other component is to look confident, sexy, and tough; but you have to mean it, otherwise you'll like an awkward wannabe.

Watch the videos I've included on here, especially the ones by Daddy Yankee and take a cue from the dancers in them.

Reggaeton, just like hip-hop, is about expressing raw sexuality and be completely unapologetic about it. Just move your body and be fearless!

How to Dance Reggaeton Video (in spanish), Good Ideas for Solo Dancing

General Tips: How to Dance Reggaeton with Your Boyfriend/Date

So I've definitely been to a few nightclubs that played reggaeton with a guy that I dated, who was a really good salsa/latin dancer, so I definitely got into dancing reggaeton with him and learning more about what it was about. Here are some general tips and things you should think about when going to dance reggaeton with your boyfriend/date.

  • Location: Find a good spot to dance with him. I recommend that you get him backed against a wall or post, this is helpful for keeping your balance while you push against him, it also makes it a little more private than being in the middle of the room with people on all sides.
  • Position: You can dance standing in front of him, facing him or turned away. You can also dance on one side of him, at an angle, so you're focusing on one leg or the other. This is good because it provides the guy with a different angle to look at you and also helps cool things down since you won't have so much body contact with each other.
  • Eye Contact: Depending on your position relative to his, I suggest you make eye-contact with him when possible. Don't stare him down, not blinking, like a serial killer, but rather use it as an opportunity to connect with him visually and really grab his attention and make it a little more personal. Only do it if it's comfortable, don't strain your neck trying to look at him because it'll end up awkward.
  • Body Contact/Pressure: You want to keep your body in contact with his using light-to-medium pressure. You don't want to overdo it by pressing up against him really hard, unless you're very drunk or reached that point in the evening when you're just straight up humping each other, (in which case, don't be that person, it's uncomfortable for the rest of us to look at).
  • Hand Placement/Movement: You can keep your hands on your body, tracing (gently gliding) them down and up the sides of your torso, down your hips to the top/front of your thighs down to your knees. Don't touch your boobs, your butt, or your cooch while dancing though, (save that for the bedroom). Another option is to extend your arms out to the side slightly and circle your wrists as your slowly raise and lower your arms (this is a belly-dancing technique).
  • Speed/Timing: You want your dancing and body movement to be in time with the music. Try to count the beats and break it down into counts of 8 for each move that you do. Like take 4 counts to go down, and another 4 to come back up. This will make your dancing more consistent and easier for your date to follow. Practice counting music and dancing at home by yourself before you go out if you're not sure how to.

Music Video for Reggaeton Dance Move Ideas for Men and Women

Basic Reggaeton Dance Moves to Dance With Your Boyfriend/Date

Shimmy Up and Down His Front:

  • By shimmy, I mean slowly move your body from side to side, in a smooth, fluid motion, starting the movement from your shoulders and going down to your hips and back, so it's an undulating motion. Don't move forward and back for this one, just side to side. You can face him or be turned away, or at angle to him. You can do this standing with your feet shoulder width apart if you're okay with opening your legs (good when wearing shorts or jeans), or with your feet together (if you're wearing a skirt or dress). Shimmy down from a standing position, all the way to the ground so you're squatting a bit, and then shimmy all the way back up.
  • Go down slowly, and then come back up quickly, but don't rush it. Your legs will get tired doing this, especially if you're in heels, so pace yourself. You can keep your arms on your legs, sliding them along your thighs as you lower down and rise up. Or you can gently extend them out to the sides (if there's room) and circle your wrists like a belly dancer.
  • He doesn't need to do anything except stand there with his feet about shoulder width apart and enjoy the show. He can keep his hands at his hands, or hold onto your hands as you move up and down.
  • Depending on the speed of the song, you can move a little faster or slower. I recommend counting "1-2-3" to come down, pause "4" and "5-6-7-8" to come back up.
  • Shimmy Down and Up His Side/Leg: Basically you'll be doing the same thing as you did shimmying up and down his front, except in this variation you'll be doing it on just his right or left side. This gives him a different angle to look at you (and eye contact is easier in this position. Stand at an angle to him, and shimmy down and up the side of his leg. This is good to do when you're feeling hot and want to cool off a bit, since you'll have less body contact with him this way.

Drop/Slide Down and Up:

  • This is a basic move in that you're not doing anything complicated or fancy, but it does require a lot of leg power, especially if you plan to do it multiple times. You've probably seen this in a lot of hip-hop/music videos and/or done this in your Zumba class.
  • You can do this standing in front of him, facing or turned away from him. You can also do this on his side/leg. This can be done with your feet together or shoulder width apart (depending on what you're wearing).
  • What you do is go from a standing position, bend your knees and drop down to the ground on "1" then come back up slowly over "2-3-4," while arching your back a bit. Go down quickly, but then come up slowly.
  • For a sexy, dramatic effect you can keep one hand on your thigh, and the other on his leg, while making eye contact with him, remembering to arch your back and not rush as you come back up.

Shimmy/Slide/Drop Combo-Variations:

  • You can alternate shimmying, sliding and dropping in whatever sequence you want. Basically guys are happy being gyrated on in most ways, so this is mostly to keep you from getting bored. You can shimmy down, and then slide back up; or drop down quickly and then shimmy back up.
  • The idea is to go down a little fast, but then come up slow. Guys find this change in speed really sexy.

Couple's Hip Circles:

  • This is pretty simple to do as long as you both have good rhythm and keep up with the beat of the music. Stand in front of your guy, facing him or away, and have him hold onto your hips while you wrap your arms around his neck and move your hips together in a circular motion, going clockwise or counter-clockwise. If you're facing away from him, you can suggestively move your hands up and down the sides of your body, in time with the music.

How to Do Body Rolls

Intermediate Reggaeton Dance Moves to Dance with Your Boyfriend/Date

These moves are a little more advanced than the previous ones and take some skill and coordination to pull off and look sexy and not awkward. Practice them at home by yourself in front of a mirror before going out if you haven't done them before and/or aren't used to them.

Solo Body Rolls:

  • Have your guy stand backing a wall or column for support and balance. Then standing in front of him, facing him or turned away; or facing him at an angle. do body rolls against him. You want to make them slow and sensual, so feel free to make occasional eye contact with him for dramatic effect.
  • You can hold hands down at your sides, wrap your arms around the back of his neck, or have one arm around the back of his neck and the other holding his hip.
  • As a variation, you can have your guy take turns doing body rolls while your stand there and enjoy the show.

Couple's Body Rolls (Straight):

  • I discovered these with my boyfriend and found that I really liked them. You stand in front of your guy, either facing or turned away, and hold onto each other closely, with good body contact, and do body rolls at the same time. You can do them complementing each other, so you move as one body in unison, with your whole bodies touching the whole time; or you can do them opposing each other, like mirror images, with only part of your body touching the other.
  • I recommend doing this with a guy that is a good dancer so it doesn't come off as awkward. This is also is a more intimate move, so save it for someone special.

Couple's Body Rolls (Criss-Crossed):

  • Stand slightly offset from each other, facing him or turned away. Then do simultaneous body rolls at a slight angle, so it's like you're making an "X" shape with your bodies. Turn your heads slightly so you can make eye contact with each other. You can stay in the same position, or take turns switching sides (i.e. going over to the right, then over to the left, then over to the right) with your body rolls.
  • You can hold hands or leave them at your sides while doing this. This can be either fun and playful, or intense and sexy depending on how your do it.

Drop-Lunge:

  • You need strong legs and good balance for this, so you don't fall or get stuck, because this needs to be done quickly and crisply. This is more of a salsa/tango move, but you can do it with reggaeton if you're familiar with the song you're dancing to and have done it with your partner before so you don't trip him by accident.
  • Standing in front of your partner, facing him at a slight angle, have him stand with his legs shoulder width or further apart (so you have sufficient room), drop down and stick your right (or left) leg out in front of you so it goes between his legs. Your standing leg should be completely bent, and the other leg should be completely straight with your toes pointed, for a clean line and maximum length. Then quickly retract your leg and rise back up (gracefully of course).
  • The count is drop on "1", extend your leg on "2," retract on "3," and rise back up on "4."
  • Practice this at home first so you don't have any accidents on the dance floor.

Couple Dancing a Sexy Bachata with a Lot of Body Rolls

How to Dance Bachata

Bachata, like reggaeton, is considered a "street" dance, and doesn't require much, if any, formal training. It is a popular dance in casual settings and many Latinos know how to dance it, unlike salsa. In addition, many popular contemporary Latin songs are bachata songs from artists like Romeo Santos (Aventura) and Prince Royce.

Bachata is a sensual romantic dance that is danced in couples in very close proximity to one another.

To learn more about bachata, please click on the link I have provided below.

Who Goes to "Latin Night" at a Bar/Club

Honestly, I will admit that most "Latin Nights" that I have been to have generally consisted of anywhere from 70 to 95% Latino/Hispanic individuals, with the rest being Asian, African-American and/or Caucasian.

The clientele who attend a "Latin Night" at a nightclub or bar tend to be reflective of the demographics of the local population.

Overall, the age of the clientele at a "Latin Night" (assuming that it is 21+ to enter), tends to be younger, about 21-35, but there can be some older patron's in their 40's and 50's as well (depending on the area).

  • For example, night clubs in what are considered primarily Latino/Hispanic neighborhoods/suburbs, will consist of about 95% Latino clientele.
  • Usually locations in primarily Hispanic suburbs/neighborhoods will yield a more diverse age range, since there is a greater/more unified sense of community in those settings due to a stronger belief in maintaining traditional cultural beliefs about the importance of family and socializing as a group. It is more acceptable for middle-age individuals to attend nightclubs there than it is downtown in the city.
  • On the other hand, night clubs in urban/metropolitan settings with a diverse population of many ethnic groups, will tend to have a more diverse clientele on their "Latin Nights," consisting of about 70-75% Latino/Hispanic individuals, 10% Caucasian, 10% African-American, and 5% Asian.
  • In the city, especially in "prime" downtown locations that are more upscale in comparison, you will find a more younger demographic, ranging from 21 to early 30's, with many Hispanic/Latino college students and working professionals.

What You Should Wear to a "Latin Night"

You can wear what you usually do to a regular nightclub for "Latin night."

For women, this means short, fitted dresses or jeans/skirt with a sexy top, nice jewelry, a small purse, and high-heeled shoes. You should do your hair and makeup nicely, like how you would to a regular nightclub, since you should expect to have your pictures taken by the club photographer and possibly posted online for the world to see, so it's a good idea to make sure you look your sexy best.

Usually I buy my sexy nightclub clothes at stores like Body Central, TjMaxx, Forever 21, or Walmart. I like these places because you can get something cute and affordably priced since you're probably not going to be wearing it that often.

For men, a nice pair of jeans (without any holes), a long sleeve button shirt, and dress shoes will suffice. Don't wear shorts, sandals, or gym shoes.

Depending on the venue, you can dress more casually with a "hip-hop" look (think Jennifer Lopez's street style in her music videos, etc.)

I recommend finding out what the dress code is before you go so you don't get turned away at the door for not having proper attire.

Why You Should Go to a "Latin Night" at a Club/Bar

"Latin Nights" can be a lot of fun for everyone, regardless of your race/ethnicity. It is a great way to learn about, witness, and experience urban Latino culture and meet new people. If you aren't Hispanic/Latino, don't worry, you can still go!

I recommend going with at least one or more Hispanic/Latino friends (or with a Hispanic/Latino significant other) if you are nervous about fitting in, and asking them to be your "guide" for the evening (if they consider themselves in touch with their culture, because not everyone is). This way they can help you feel more comfortable and familiar by translating some of the songs for you (if they speak Spanish) or showing you how to dance reggaeton (if they know it).

It is also more fun if you go with a group of friends so this way you can have more freedom and control over how your evening goes and don't have to worry about feeling lonely/out of place.

Ultimately, it all comes down to a matter of personal preference and what kind of experience you are interested in. "Latin Nights" are a great way to diversify and expand your nightclub experiences and learn about new ways to have fun!

Do you want to a "Latin Night" after reading this?

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Please Read My Other Articles for Even More Information About Latin Dancing!

Bachata:

Zumba:

Merengue and Cha-cha:

Salsa:

Social Etiquette/Interpersonal Relations at Dance

What to Wear to Dance:

Where to Go Out Salsa Dancing:

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