How to dance paisa music

The 10 Most Over-Played Songs at a Mexican Wedding, California Edition – OC Weekly

A couple of weeks ago, I was in Houston to do a book signing for my book, Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America. Afterward, I went with friends and fans to enjoy some awesome Tex-Mex at El Real Tex-Mex, and among those who attended were two colleagues/pals from our sister paper, the Houston Press: John Nova Lomax (who's descended from the great Lomax family of American folk-music scholars) and badass writer-photographer Marco Torres.

Get reporters in the same room, and we'll eventually talk shop. John talked about some cover stories he was working on; Marco said he was going to do a listicle of the 10 most over-played songs at a Mexican wedding.

“Awesome!” I said. “Is 'Arriba Pichátaro' on the list?”

Blank stare.

“'El Sinaloense'?”

“Never heard of it,” Marco said.

Then I remembered–I was in Texas, and I'm from California.

See, gabachos: Mexicans in the United States come from different parts of Mexico. Don't believe me? Just turn on the radio. While Southern California is chockablock with banda sinaloense, Chalino Sanchez wannabes, rancheras, sierreño, sonidero, and conjunto norteño (and the mashing of them all), the Texas airwaves play a different style–and I'm not referring to Tex-Mex groups. There, grupero, tribal, and northern Mexico-style cumbias rule, the provenance of northern Mexico, where most of the Lone Star State's Mexis originate (and if you go to New York, it's sonidero, and pasito duranguense in Chicago–but that's another listicle). The Mexicans of Southern California, on the other hand, mostly come from central Mexico (Jalisco, Sinaloa, Zacatecas, Mexico City) and the south, with very few folks from Chihuahua, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, and the like.

As a result, weddings in the two states are going to sound different. I've never been to a Texas Mexi wedding, but having been to a lifetime of Southern California ones, I know the most overplayed ones. So I told Marco I'd do my list after his, but because he's a lazy Mexican, I'm beating him to it. and you can read it here (and it's a goodie!) There will be some crossover between Marcos' list and mine (“Juana la Cubana,” for sure), but listen to this list, and you'll be amazed at how rote your Mexican co-worker's wedding will sound compared to yours. Now, do your list, Marco!

10. “El Rey”

Mariachi rules all Mexican weddings in the United States, because those pincheJaliscans have successfully brainwashed the world into believe it's the most Mexican of all song forms. As if! But those of us who aren't from the Texas of Mexico relegate the mariachi to the dinner portion of a reception, the better to ignore it or request songs. By this point, of course, the cousins are already into their eighth Bud, with a couple of tequila shots thrown in, so one of them will request this Vicente Fernández lament-boast so they can all hold each other and sway and cry the memorable refrain in unison–no homo!

9. “Capullo y Sorullo

More so than American weddings, Mexicans hire a live band to provide the main musical entertainment. But they'll also hire a DJ to spin in between tandas (sets), and a sympathetic DJ will always rely on cumbias (the shuffling genre of Colombia that has long been popular in Mexico) in order to allow those who can't dance to banda or conjunto (i.e., the token gabachos, chinitos, pochos in the crowd), and the undisputed champ of the genre is La Sonora Dinamita, the legendary Colombian group that probably has more hits per ratio than any group in history not named the Beatles and who produced the most danceable music EVER. I could've picked any Sonora song here, really, but the nod goes to “Capullo y Sorullo,” a fine overview of their trademarks: a jaunty rhythm, a coy female voice, banter between her and a sotto male singer, and playful lyrics, this time about tale of a black man wondering why one of his children is black but the eight others black. Dig the video that has nothing at all to do with the song's content!

8. “Sopa de Caracol”

Fuck Zumba: get America dancing to punta, the frenetic genre from Honduras, and our obesity problem is over. But the genre only produced two true crossover hits for Mexico: “Esa Chica Me Vacila” (“That Girl Teases Me,” a hit for Banda Vallarta Show in the quebradita days of the 1990s; it was a remake of the punta smash “Ella Me Vacila” by Grupo Kazzabe, which was a remake of a Nicaraguan song, which was a remake of whatever they play in Panama, which was a Spanish version of a 1991 Trinidadian soca smash called “She's a Teaser”–phew!), and this one (“Conch Soup,” referring to a beloved Honduran dish–and I'm not talking about sea snail soup), a huge hit for Banda Blanca. It's easy to see why it's so popular at weddings: danceable, with a break where everyone can chant together at the break and swing their hips. However, no way in hell did punta's dance style (as seen in this video, it's sex standing up) cross over: the last time a sexy dance made it into Mexican wedding halls was the Lambada, and moms still talk about how the devil infiltrated Mexican culture ever since.
7. “Víbora de la Mar

Sometimes, a song is overplayed because it's mandatory, and this is the case with “The Sea Snake.” Originally a children's chant, it eventually became adapted to weddings as a game: Men and women take turns gathering in a line, holding hands, and racing through the reception area, picking up more people as they go along under an arch formed by the bride and groom standing on chairs holding hands (or with the groom holding the bride's train) until they “capture” someone. Think of it as “London Bridge is Falling Down” transformed into a bizarre fertility rite. Best part of this spectacle: when the drunkest in the line inevitably falls.

6. “Oye Mi Amor”

Being a wedding DJ at a Mexican wedding is unenviable, because you always have to take the tias into consideration. Play something edgy? I remember once going to a reception where the DJ played “Rock Lobster,” and you could almost see all the aunts mumble about the cochinadas taking place before their eyes. But the DJ still needs to play something modern, something “edgy,” so they'll eventually turn to this cliché by rock en español dinosaurs Maná because it's the one rockero song everyone knows. All the young people will cringe, but will gamely dance to it. Want to know how seriously uncool this song is? It's the theme song for a local public radio show, who we won't name to spare them the embarrassment of knowing that what they think is cool is cool only to Mexican tías–and God bless them, but they're about as cool as a fresh bowl of menudo.

5. “Juana la Cubana”

Far more cooler is this song (if I have to translate it for you, go back to Stormfront), which I think will also show up on Marco's list because its writer, Fito Olivares, is from Tamaulipas and makes his base in Houston with his group, La Pura Sabrosura. Even in the slow world of cumbia, “Juana la Cubana” is legendary for its slow synth-and-sax slink–hell, even Curt Pringle could shimmy to this one (he's an evil former mayor of Anaheim, non-political types, who happens to be the whitest man in human history).
4. “Camarón Pelao

All of the previous songs, however, are mere precursors to what usually predominates at Southern California Mexican weddings: banda sinaloense, the mighty brass band sound of the state of Sinaloa that has wonderfully infiltrated all other Mexican cultures in our region, and the songs standardized by Banda El Recodo, the genre's super-group that has been at it since before Mick Jagger was born–SERIOUSLY. This song (“Peeled Shrimp”–the double entendres just write themselves in Latin music, ¿qué no?) is one of the few that can skip across genres, but it always sounds best in banda, always jumpier, always the easier excuse to let the panzas and chichis fly on the dance floor.

3. “El Sinaloense”

Every Mexican state has its boast song, the tune that proclaims the beauty of its women, the toughness of its men, the brilliance of its towns and natural features. But only this song became a standard, mostly because it's a tour de force that allows the lead singer to stretch out his vocal chords, because it engages the entirety of the banda, from the French horns to the tubas to the clarinets and especially the tambora (bass drum), and because it allows the best dancers to show off with a zapateada–a boot stomper. Besides, if people from Jalisco are the Texans of Mexico, then Sinaloans are the West Virginians–absolutely crazy, wonderful people, with better-looking women. A cliché, sí, but a necessary one.

2. “Arriba Pichátaro”

Yet “El Sinaloense” is not the ultimate song for a banda–that would be this one, which all bandas play, but is a standard of tamborazo (banda's country cousin, originating from Zacatecas) and is a shout-out to a town in Michoacán. Also a zapateada, it's more important as an opportunity for the drummer to strut his stuff ala guitarists with “Freebird” or whatever onanistic solo the kids play nowadays.

[1. “Payaso de Rodeo”

I hope to hell Marco joins me in denouncing this song (“Rodeo Clown”) and placing it at the top of our mutual lists, as the group, Caballo Dorado is from Monterrey (which rules Houston society) and the song is TERRIBLE–hokey nonsense that ditches Mexican traditions in favor of mimicking the Charlie Daniels Band. Nevertheless, the song has become a phenomenon of Mexican weddings in the past decade, even though it dates back to 1997. And if it sounds like a loose ripoff of “Achy Breaky Heart,” you're mistaken: the group that wrote “Payaso de Rodeo” did their own version (“No Rompas Mi Corazón,” “Don't Break My Heart”) in 2000. See, America? You have nothing to worry about regarding the Reconquista: we'll be as pendejo as y'all very soon.

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20 Songs You Always Hear At A Mexican Family Gathering

You know how they say there are some images you can literally hear. Let’s try this one out. It’s a Saturday afternoon, you’re having a beer in the backyard, hanging out with your primos, while your tíos and tías are by the grill making the carne asada. There’s probably one particular song that reminds you exactly of that particular scene. What song is it?

I think we can all agree that some songs are so iconic that they’ve managed to win over generation after generation, becoming family anthems for basically every kind of situation, especially the family reunions, which are a BIG deal in Mexico and most Latin American countries.  


I, for instance, can’t remember a month going by in my life without my entire (and quite large) family getting together for whatever random reason. Most of the time, it’s just for tradition’s sake and the pleasure of being together.

As a good Mexican household, a family reunion isn’t just about eating together and hanging out a little bit: it’s a real fiesta that involves great food, refreshing drinks, and, of course, amazing music to dance and sing our heart out. 


My family’s playlist isn’t as unique as we’d like to think. In fact, I think you could find it at basically any Mexican family reunion. To be more precise, these are songs you’ll probably hear at each phase of these gatherings, so grab your headphones and get ready to relive those amazing parties.

Mi razón de ser - Banda MS

The carne asada is on the grill, and there’s no better seasoning than a good banda song to get everyone in the party mood.


Everybody is talking and catching up when you hear this classic banger your tía always loves to play. 


Salomé - Chayanne

And since she’s taken control of the music, she won’t let go of the opportunity to listen to her all-time crush and his danceable hits. 

Como la flor - Selena

Oh, but just when the party is starting to get lit, your cousin, who was the biggest Selena fan in her childhood, feels the need to sing this anthem and remind everybody why Selena was the best artist of the world. And of course, you’ve had a couple of beers by now and emotions start to get you.


Corazón partío - Alejandro Sanz

As if this weren’t enough, your eldest cousin, who happens to be your mom’s age, sees this as the right opportunity to play this song everybody knows but no one really wants to listen to.

And of course, they’ve already opened a dark door, and now everybody wants to take part in what seems to be a gathering for the heartbroken. You know you’ve got to do something about it before it’s too late.

And what’s the best way to get the party going again? You’re right, a classic cumbia by the Goddess herself to make everybody dance.

Nunca es suficiente - Los Ángeles Azules ft. Natalia la Fourcade

Let’s not forget about the younger generations. Try this hit that will keep the fiesta going while inviting them to partay!


La vida es un carnaval - Celia Cruz

No party is complete without a little bit of azúcar, and there’s only one queen who can give us that sweet fix. 


La Chona - Los Tucanes de Tijuana

Ever since the infamous “Chona challenge” and Los Tucanes de Tijuana’s amazing performance at Coachella, there’s no way you can skip this one at a party, because, yes, the reunion just turned into an epic party (like every weekend).

La hiedra venenosa - Los Rebeldes del Rock

Ok, almost everybody is having a blast, but let’s give your Rock & Roll-loving uncles a chance to show their amazing moves.


El tiburón - Proyecto Uno

Nice moves! But now it’s time to please the Gen Xers and millennials, and what better way to do so than the song that made us all dance back in the nineties.

Suavemente - Elvis Crespo

Come on, tías! Dance with us, you know you can’t resist this one!


Un pie tras otro pie - OV7

Since we’ve apparently traveled back to the nineties, it’s time to bring back the choreography you did with your primas. Do you still remember it?

La calle de las sirenas - Kabah

And you can’t play nineties pop hits without this masterpiece. Enjoy it because your aunts are getting bored and they’re threatening to bring out the karaoke machine.


Así no te amará jamás - Amanda Miguel

Yep, they did it, and guess what: we’re starting with probably the hardest and most dramatic song of all time. Take it easy, woman!

El triste - José José

Now it’s time for your uncle who could’ve had an amazing career as a singer, but left it all to help grandpa with the business, or so he says. He’s good, though! Almost as good as José José.


El rey - Vicente Fernández

Here comes your brother, the purist, who always wants to sing the classics while downing shots of tequila.

Cómo quien pierde una estrella - Alejandro Fernández

This party’s vibe has definitely changed and you know it when your show-off uncle takes back the mic to what he thinks is his jam.


Culpable o no - Luis Miguel

Ok, this is your cue. It’s past midnight, and you know there’s no coming back from this blue mood. 

But hey, maybe next week you can make some adjustments to the playlist. Ok, let’s be honest it will probably be the same, but you know you love it! Here's the playlist to make it easier for you!


Read more:
The 2019 Gold Cup Games Are Warm-Ups Before The Mexico-USMNT Final Match
Why Do Mexicans Love To Eat Spicy Food And Peppers?
5 Incredible And Powerful Women Who Changed Mexico Forever


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How to properly dance to club music in a discotheque


Dance is body language, and dancing in a club is the only way to draw attention to yourself with the help of this language, because in the crowd and noise it is impossible to talk differently. Steps, turns, tilts, jumps - in the light of strobe lights look spectacular when performed with skill. And it’s not at all difficult to learn them if you follow the advice of professionals and study in a dance studio. New faces are always welcome at Laboca!

A bit about clubs

In order to understand how beautiful it is to move to modern club music, it is worth remembering a little about the history of this direction. The first nightclubs began to open in the 80s of the last century. They constantly gathered young people who demonstrated the latest innovations in dance elements on the dance floor. Therefore, the fashion for movement was constantly changing, and eventually turned into a mix of several styles. So for several decades, a whole club culture has developed, which you need to familiarize yourself with before entering the dance floor. The surge in popularity of club dancing led to the opening of special groups in dance schools and made everyone understand that this direction is worth learning.

The main thing is emotions!

Club dances are distinguished by the fact that they should be comprehended with an emotional component. Only a relaxed, flexible and ready to improvise person will move effectively on the dance floor. The main means of expressiveness of club dance are plasticity, keeping pace, impromptu and stylish appearance. If you were able to discard all the complexes and are ready to relax on the dance floor, consider that you have already received the first lesson in club dancing.

Before deciding how to dance to club music in a disco, choose your key style. Strip plastic, street jazz, hip-hop, go-go, or maybe disco? True, in order to move freely on the dance floor, a beginner dancer will have to master the basic elements of all these directions, and at the same time learn how to combine them with club music, while getting real pleasure from dancing. Pure improvisation, video lessons or classes at a dance school - you choose. But it is worth noting that several master classes in a professional studio will significantly save your time and effort.

Sign up for a trial lesson

Club movements

Club dance implies no restrictions, looseness and freedom. Movements are performed gently, smoothly, with a small amplitude. There are no complex elements, high jumps, flips and splits. Low slopes are also not welcome, they look vulgar. But different types of swing always look good. To master the basic swing, you should start by shaking your head to the beat of the music. Then beat the rhythm with your hand or foot, and then move on to springy movements with the whole body. Swinging the torso is performed by tilting the body forward and backward, and swinging with the help of the knees - by bending and unbending the legs to the music and connecting the foot: at the expense of "and" move the socks, pushing the heels away, on "one" - rest on the heels and spread the socks .

Don't forget your hands. Movements should look stylish, but at the same time remain safe, after all, you have to dance on the dance floor: one awkward movement with your elbow - and your neighbor is knocked out. Therefore, the elbows should be kept close to the body, and the shoulders should be moved mainly. Try to sharply raise and lower your shoulders to the beat of the music, repeating the same movements with your hands. Now add the head, body and legs. Of course, you are not the king of the dance floor yet, but you are already moving in the right direction.

Another move with the hands - the movement of the pharaoh.

Place your right hand on your left shoulder and your left hand on your right. To the beat of the music - for "one-two" hands are crossed. Further, the girl can unhook her hands and smoothly lower them to her hips, and the young man can open his hands and put his thumbs on the shoulders of the corresponding hands. On "four", stretch your arms forward, leaving all fingers bent, except for the thumb and forefinger.

The most versatile movement of the arms is to move them behind the head so that the elbows are parallel to each other. Girls can continue the element by performing a wave with the whole body, and young people can lower their head down, thereby drawing attention to their legs.

On the dance floor, do not perform amplitude movements with arms and legs, push and move ambiguously, if the desire to attract the attention of the opposite sex is not in the first place. The abundance of waves with the hips and the movements of the hands stroking themselves do not look like flirting, but rather give a very clear signal to action to other party participants.

Spectacular appearance

Time spent on the dance floor will be much more pleasant for you if you are satisfied with yourself. To feel more confident, it is important not only to master the basic movements of club dances, but also to look spectacular. Choose your best "bow", which will not hinder movement and reveal unnecessary fragments of the body, but will most favorably show you in the light of strobe lights. Comfortable shoes, stylish clothes, perfect make-up and a neat hairstyle are already half the success on the club parquet. The rest will be done for you by a great mood and dance!

Video of modern dances

Dubravina Olga, Ryzhov Dmitry. HIP HOP

Hip Hop. Olga Dubravina, Dmitry Ryzhov.

Likbez Sports and fitness

Master the basic moves, then improvise and have fun.

Iya Zorina

Lifehacker author, athlete, CCM

This dance style includes a lot of freedom and improvisation. That is why he is so good. You can master the basic movements in a couple of hours, and then complicate them to infinity and combine them with each other, create your own combinations and spy on others.

Dance in sneakers, socks or barefoot, in any outfit, anywhere.

Master the basic movements of the shuffle

In this style, you do all the basic movements with your feet, the hands most often move freely - according to the heart.

Running man

This is the most basic and essential shuffle movement. You can do it in three different ways.

Full foot

The movement begins by bending your knee and lifting one leg. Next, you need to simultaneously put both legs - supporting and raised - at a distance of one step from each other.

The raised leg is placed forward on a full foot, the standing one behind slips back on the ball of the foot and remains on it - the heel is not placed on the floor. The weight is evenly distributed between the two legs.

After that, it remains to return to the starting position. To do this, the front leg slides back, and at the same time, the back leg is pulled up. You find yourself in the starting position and repeat the cycle. The movement itself is soft and springy: do not stick into the floor, keep your legs relaxed.


This is a lighter and faster running man look that may be needed for some combinations. Here you put your foot not on the whole foot, but on the heel. At the same time, the one standing behind remains on the toe.

On pads

In this variation, the foot is placed forward on the pad. At the same time, the one standing behind also remains on the ball of the foot, and the body leans slightly back.


In this movement, one foot constantly makes a “herringbone” - turns the heel in and out - and the second touches the floor and immediately rises back.

When the heel of the skating leg turns inward, the toe of the other foot touches the floor; when outward, the other leg rises, turning the knee inward.

It turns out two positions: closed - when the legs are wrapped with the knees inward, and one leg is raised, and open - when the legs are turned out with the knees outward, and the toe touches the floor. Practice doing the T-step in both directions: slowly at first, then with acceleration.


You jump on one foot while the other touches the floor in different places: on the side of the supporting leg, across, behind - anywhere you want. You can put your foot on the toe or on the heel - the latter is called a kick. The supporting leg can simply rise low or perform a T-step - move the heel out and in.


To begin, you turn your knees and toes inward and lift one leg. Then turn your toes and knees outward, and put your raised leg forward crosswise. Repeat the same with the other leg.

All movement occurs on the balls of the feet, the heels do not fall to the floor. You can move both forward and backward.


First you put your feet crosswise with your toes outward with a jump, then you also spread your legs apart with a jump.


One leg is straight, stands on the whole foot, the other is with a bent knee on the pad. Leaning on the pad, you slip the foot of a straight leg back, as if wiping the sole on the floor.

Immediately after the slip, you turn around. In the turn, the straight leg bends and goes to the pad, and the one that was on the pad, on the contrary, turns on the heel. After that, it remains only to change legs and move in the same way in the other direction.


From the starting position - standing with a raised leg, as in Running man - you turn your hips to the side with a jump and put your legs crosswise.

The front foot is on the heel, the back foot is on the ball. Then you jump back to the starting position and do the same on the other side.


From the starting position, you turn your hips to the side with a jump and spread your legs a step apart from each other. The standing foot in front is placed on the heel, the standing one behind remains on the pillow. Then, with a jump, you collect your legs and do the same on the other side.

Try other variations of the basic shuffle movements

You can perform basic movements in different directions: forward and backward, turning around. This will give you more freedom to improvise.

Variations Running man

Do several times in place and then turn around. You can also try walking this way to the side. Each time the leg will need to be placed slightly crossed in order to slowly move to the side.

Variations T‑step

You can lower your foot on the toe, on the whole foot, touch the floor to the side of the supporting leg or forward and behind it.

You can also keep the other leg on the floor at all - leave it on the toe and turn the knee in and out.

Variations Diamond

Here one more element is added to the movement – ​​the heel strike. In the starting position, you wrap the toes of the feet and knees inward, and then jump on the heels, turning the socks to the sides.

From this position, without jumping, you turn your toes and knees inward, cross your legs with a jump, turning your feet with your toes outward, and then return to the starting position.

Charleston Variations

After three turns of the Charleston, turn both toes in one direction and then in the other. At the end, you can turn the knee to the side.

Connect familiar shuffle moves

While you lack the skills to move freely and come up with something of your own, learn a few combinations. They contain interesting movements that will replenish your dance vocabulary.

Combination 1

This is a simple combination of two basic movements - Running man and T-step. First take five Running man steps, then four T-steps to the side and repeat the same in the opposite direction.

Combination 2

Another combination of two basic movements. Here you do three Running mans, then one T‑step with a back foot touch, and two front heel touch kicks. The same on the other side.

Combination 3

There are no standard steps here, but there are already familiar Sidekick and transition from heels to toes.

Learn more difficult combinations

We will add some videos with good combinations.

1. Cool video for beginners: movements are repeated in slow motion to make it easier to dance to the music.

2. And here the combination is analyzed step by step in slow motion, dividing it into three parts. Very comfortably. Look for more on this channel, there are several such analyzes.

3. No slowdown here, just a great combination. But you already know almost all the movements, so you can figure it out. If something is not clear, watch the video at a speed of 0.25.

Pick up the music and improvise

Surely you have favorite songs to shuffle to.

Learn more