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South & Central America

The language of the dancefloor

Infectious toe-tapping sounds are impossible to ignore - swot up on essential phrases before making your entrance on the dancefloor

The language of the dancefloor

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Portuguese

Tenho samba no pé — I’m a natural at samba (literally ‘I’ve got samba in my feet’)

Você quer dançar? want to dance? 

Vamo dançar! let’s dance! 

Onde é o clube? where’s the club? 

Mostra-me os teus passos de dança! show me your moves!

Spanish

Paso a paso — Step by step

Quiero bailar contigo — I want to dance with you

Cabeceo — a man’s invitation to a woman to dance. His desired partner will either nod to accept, or turn her head and ignore

Siente el ritmo! — Feel the beat!

Baila! — Dance!

El/la tanguero/a one who dances/sings the tango 

Bailar hasta que salga el sol to dance the night away (literally ’to dance until the sun comes up’) 

¿Dónde podemos bailar la salsa? where can we dance the salsa? 

¿Qué haces esta noche? what are you up to tonight?

Read more tales from the dancefloor here. 

Published in the September 2017 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)