Banda is a brass instrument driven form of music that comes from the Sinaloa region of northern Mexico. Its heavy percussion-driven style combines the fast rhythms of the polka with the smooth melodies of the bolero and the strong vocals of lead singers. Banda is country music, and is found in both Mexico and the United States, where it is listened to primarily by the immigrant population and the working class. This romantic music focuses on love and many songs are laments for a broken heart, perfect for partner dancing.
Grab your partner in a close embrace. If you are the male, put your arms around the waist of the female. If you are the female put your arms around the back of the neck of the male. Hold on to your partner tightly; in banda you will move together across the dance floor.
Listen to the song being played. Find the heavy pulsing percussion that is being played out by the tambora, a heavy drum that has a cymbal attached to it. When it is struck the cymbal also sounds. Banda percussion is hard and fast and should be easy to locate.
Alternate your steps in time with the percussion of the banda music. Holding your partner close, slightly jump back and forth from one foot to another, making sure she is following you on the opposite foot like a mirror image.
Turn in circles as you dance, keeping the embrace tight and the movements in time with the music. In banda music, dancers turn about in place as they move across the dance floor, turning first to one side and then to another. The man leads the turns from the woman's waist, bringing her around in from of him as he turns to the left or right. Couples dance forward and backward and from side to side, but the male usually stays in the center of the turns, and the female dances around him.
Kick your leg out to the side with each step, adding flair to your banda dancing. Do this to the rhythm, kicking only when there is a beat to be accentuated by the kick.
Move your hips from side to side as you dance. Stay in sync with your partner’s hips and the music, using your hip movements to keep time to the music as you dance.
Based in San Francisco, Ocean Malandra is a travel writer, author and documentary filmmaker. He runs a major San Francisco travel website, is widely published in both online and print publications and has contributed to several travel guidebooks to South America.