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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

By National Geographic Traveller (UK)
Published 3 Aug 2017, 12:33 BST, Updated 12 Jul 2021, 09:56 BST
The language of the dancefloor
The language of the dancefloor


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!



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)

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