Bilingual kids, bilingual mom, Bilingualism, Celia Cruz, Latin dance, latin moms, Mamás latinas, Spanish teacher

In Their Honor, Bailamos…Ten Movie Scenes to Inspire Latin Dance Moves…


Dance when you’re broken open. Dance if you’ve torn the bandage off… Dance when you’re perfectly free.” –Rumi.

Before the tragic events in Florida this weekend, I had prepared a piece about dancing because of its many benefits. Also, to dance at a young age, as you might have heard, is important because when you do not dance, “es que no lo bailaron cuando chiquito.” And, I was not going to send this out because of these events but then I thought, no, to die because you went out to dance…no tiene nombre.

Que Dios bendiga

I also found this quote by the poet Rumi. And, it got me to thinking what if we dance for those who cannot dance today, in their honor. It’s also O.K. to cry… This is when we need to move. Kids need to move even more. If more people dance we may be that much closer to world peace. So here it is,


Ten Movie Scenes to Inspire

Latin Dance Moves…


An all-star cast of Sophia Loren, Frank Sinatra and Cary Grant, were employed in the film  in The Pride and the Passion (1957). Based on the story of a peasant rebellion of Spaniards against the Napoleon army that has a stronghold in Avila.  Sophia owns her style of Flamenco; not showing the zapateado is a shame though. If you are wondering why so serious… well the look of  amargura is a must in flamenco dance. If you want to work through a bitter memory…consider stamping your feet.  See below for more flamenco…



In Shall we Dance (2004), Jennifer Lopez gives Richard Gere, who plays the role of a depressed estate lawyer, a chance de ser feliz. She teaches him to get outside of his head with some good advice: “Don’t say anything. Don’t think. Don’t move until  you feel it.” With all of that pushing and pulling, you cannot help but be grounded by dancing the Tango. If not you just simply fall.


Armando Assante and Antonio Banderas starred in Mambo Kings (1992) film about two Cuban brothers who are musicians playing in the NYC music scene of the 1950’s. Celia Cruz and Tito Puente, two of the most influential musicians for the Salsa music we have come to love, are featured in the film.



In  The Scent of a Woman (2006), Al Pacino is a blind man dancing an impeccable tango with Gabrielle Anwar, proving that life is too short to not Tango. The song happens to be a classic of Carlos Gardel’s Por una Cabeza. Carlos Gardel was a French Argentinian who composed the music, sang, acted and was just about the most popular man with the ladies on the planet in his prime. He died in 1935…his memory will live on as his name is almost sinónimo with Tango.



Chayanne and Vanessa Williams in Dance with Me (1998) have good chemistry and moves to match… if I had a dime for every time a student asked me if we could watch this movie… For the pequeños you may want to fast forward through some scenes, especially after the sprinklers get Chayanne.



West Side Story (1961) dance scene where the rebel NYC gangs, Sharks and Jets, battle it out on the dance floor of the high school gym features Mambo. It’s a tragic love story, discretion with the young ones is advised for the violence at the end.



Jennifer Lopez again here seen as Selena (1997), another favorite in the high school Spanish classes, playing Baila Esta Cumbia. Although again, the ending of the film contains too much violence for young ones.



Carlos Saura’s Flamenco (1995) is about just that, song, guitar, clap and dance… Flamenco!  You will learn the origins of this Spanish dance, which are more than Andalucia, but include Greek psalms,  Jewish laments, Gregorian chants, African rhythms, and Persian melodies among others. (Yes, our ancestors are from all over folks…) This song is actually a rumba inspired by a poem by Federico Garcia Lorca, Romance Sonámbulo. …Verde que te quiero verde, bajo la luna gitana…



Take the Lead (2006) with Antonio Banderas who plays the role of Palestinian Dancer Pierre Dulaine, in the early stages of teaching ballroom dance in a tough NYC school. Dulaine does a cameo in this movie. Here Banderas dances with actress Katya Virshilas  Así se baila el Tango by Bailongo, leaving students con la boca abierta.



Mad Hot Ballroom is a great film for kids of all ages. It’s a documentary that showcases the yearly ballroom dance competition that takes place in NYC public schools for kids in fifth grade. In the movie they dance a lot of Merengue, Foxtrot, Rumba, Swing and Tango. From these mature and sophisticated kids…you’ll learn life lessons along the way. This yearly competition was actually started by Pierre Dulaine, who plays himself in the film as well.

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