What is Reggaeton?


This dance form is an example of a partnered dance. In classes a choreographed sequence is generally taught, but in practice it is an improvised dance.
Editor: Mark Stephens

Reggaeton music originated in Panama in the 1970s. By the 1990s it had spread to Puerto Rico, where the youth now claim Reggaeton as a musical genre of their own. Reggaeton music has a mixture of Jamaican and Latin American influences, blended with Hip Hop and Electronica beats. Reggaeton usually incorporates rapping in Spanish or English, and its similar lyrical structure to Hip Hop has caused some controversy due to the use of sexual innuendo and explicit lyrics in some of the music. In an attempt to get around censorship issues, some Reggaeton artists prefer to utilise double meanings to make the messages in their songs more subliminal. However this is not to say that Reggaeton is simply a form of Latino Hip Hop; it has its very own distinctive rhythm known as ‘dembow’, the name of which refers to the title of the Shabba Ranks song ‘Dem Bow’ that first popularised Reggaeton in the 1990s.

The infectious beats of this Latin American urban music of the 1990s caused it to spread rapidly worldwide, along with an accompanying dance style that is simple and easy to learn. It is a similar dancing style to that seen in the film ‘Dirty Dancing’, but with more of a Caribbean influence. A classic Reggaeton dance move is often referred to as ‘Perreo’, which means ‘Doggie’, and refers to its explicit sexual overtones. The man stands behind the woman and both grind their hips and shoulders in time to the music. Reggaeton is a sexy and passionate dance, making it very popular in clubs and discos worldwide, and especially in Puerto Rico. It is also suitable for any party or social occasion for fans of Latin music.
Editor: Nichola Manning