Reggaeton has become so popular and so representative of Latin American culture, that it would be impossible to deny its importance and influence in the current music and dance scene. In Bogotá, reggaetón is extremely popular and you can dance and sing to it pretty much anywhere!
Reggaeton is every Colombian’s guilty pleasure, but honestly, it’s extremely catchy and it’s a lot of fun to dance and sing to! Many people argue that reggaeton is bad music and its lyrics are offensive, however, whether this is true or not, there’s no denying that reggaeton is extremely popular in Colombia and all over Latin America. In fact, many of the well-known and popular artists of this genre come from this wonderful land we have the pleasure of calling “home.” Truth is, reggaeton is a cultural manifestation and it’s important to recognize and acknowledge the influence it has on the current music industry and on Latin America.
What exactly is reggaeton and where does it come from?
Reggaeton originated in Panamá (yep, you heard right) in the 1970s but became popular in the underground clubs of Puerto Rico in the 80s and 90s. It’s a mix of Caribbean, African, and Latin American sounds, so it’s basically like reggae combined with hip hop. The name was created in 1988 by Michel Ellis as a form of combining the “Spanish reggae” with the dem bow (the characteristic percussion sound in the background).
Reggaeton started to become popular all over the globe around 2004 with artists like Tego Calderón and Daddy Yankee, but it wasn’t till the mid-2010s that it crashed the mainstream music party having its definitive peak with the song, Despacito in 2017. Now, it might have originated in Puerto Rico, but it’s extremely popular in Colombia as well and that’s why it has become home to some of the most popular artists in recent years (like J Balvin and Maluma). There’s no Colombian party or meeting that doesn’t play at least a few reggaeton songs; that I’m sure of!
Reggaeton’s popularity in the new century derives from three important things: one, it’s purely an urban genre, two, it developed in the era of mainstream music and the internet (the digital era), and three, it connects people because it’s a social activity.. Whether or not people identify with the lyrics, reggaeton has united Latin America and is an important musical distinction for our culture (same as salsa, bachata or merengue).
Dancing reggaeton is all about feeling the music and the beat; there’s really no other secret. Yes, you have to move your hips, yes you have to move your feet, but I assure you’ll be able to do it without any problem as long as you enjoy it!
Want to learn some steps?
If you are in Bogotá and you really want to learn some steps, head to these studios:
- Academia Golden: they have individual and group classes, as well as several levels depending on your interest. For an hour of class for 3 people, they charge around $100,000 COP (around $33 USD). Take a look at their page to know more.
- Whee Dance Lessons: I recommend you go to these lessons every Thursday at Meeting House. You’ll learn to dance reggaeton and many other Colombian or Latin rhythms, as well as share the experience with other foreign and locals (for free!). It’s a hell of a good time, really!
Also, take a look at these Youtube videos that teach basic steps that you can practice:
Want to dance for fun?
For me, this is the best way to enjoy reggaeton because that’s what it’s all about: fun. You don’t actually have to know all the steps to dance to it. If you want to have the time (or night) of your life socializing with your friends and enjoying reggaeton, I recommend you go to the following bars and clubs:
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- Presea Rooftop: this is it, an exclusive reggaeton bar located in one of the most popular nightlife zones in Bogotá. You really don’t want to miss the atmosphere and the fun you can have there. Fully recommend it!
- La Negra: located in Chapinero, this bar is decorated with graffiti, bright colors, and amazing art. You’ll feel like you’re on the Caribbean coast dancing to some of the most popular reggaeton songs. Read our article about partying in Chapinero to know more.
- El Candelario: located in La Candelaria (really!?), this bar is popular amongst locals and foreigners and plays a lot of good reggaeton songs. Two floors of pure and dancing fun!
Famous reggaeton artists and songs
It’s actually difficult (even annoying) to try to choose just a few artists and songs because there are so many that it would take a long time just listing them all. But I’ve finally selected five according to their importance and what I recommend.
- J Balvin (I love him because of his authenticity, style, and catchy songs!)
- Maluma (very popular!)
- Zion y Lennox (I like and enjoy many of their songs!)
- Daddy Yankee (the father, the one who started it all!)
- Don Omar (classic, never to be missed at any good party!)
- Despacito (yes, I had to…the most popular reggaeton song in history and you probably already know it)
- Mi gente (this song is like a hymn of brotherhood, enjoyment, and dance)
- Gasolina (the first popular reggaeton song and a classic of the classics!)
- Bailando (if you don’t feel the need to dance with this song then I don’t know what else will make you feel it)
- La bicicleta (every single Latin American person knows the lyrics of this song and there’s a reason why)
If you want to listen and dance to more reggaeton songs click on this Spotify playlist and start enjoying!
Reggaeton is taking over the world! Come to Bogotá and enjoy a great time dancing and having the time of your life. I guarantee it will be an experience to remember!
Read our article about popular dancing styles in Colombia to know more about our music and dance culture.
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