What Dance is Popular in Uruguay? Everything You Need to Know

What Dance is Popular in Uruguay? Everything You Need to Know

Are you curious about the vibrant dance culture in Uruguay? Look no further! In this article, we will explore the popular dance styles that have captivated the hearts of Uruguayan locals and visitors alike. From the energetic Candombe to the sensual Tango, we will delve into the origins, characteristics, and significance of each dance. Whether you are a dance enthusiast or simply interested in learning more about Uruguay’s rich cultural heritage, this comprehensive guide will provide you with all the information you need. So, let’s get ready to immerse ourselves in the rhythmic world of Uruguayan dance!

Traditional Uruguayan Dances


Candombe is a traditional dance form that originated in Uruguay during the colonial era. It has strong African roots and is considered an integral part of the Afro-Uruguayan culture. This vibrant dance is characterized by its rhythmic beats and energetic movements. Candombe is often performed during important cultural events and festivals, such as Carnival. The dance involves a group of drummers, known as ‘llamadas,’ who play the distinctive candombe drums called ‘tambores.’ The dancers, dressed in colorful costumes, move to the lively beats, creating an electrifying atmosphere. Candombe is not only a dance but also a way to preserve and celebrate the African heritage in Uruguay.


While tango is commonly associated with Argentina, it is also quite popular in Uruguay. Uruguay has played a significant role in the development and evolution of tango as a dance form. The Uruguayan tango has its unique style and characteristics, influenced by the cultural blend of European immigrants and African descendants. The dance is known for its passionate and sensual movements, as well as the close connection between the dancing partners. Tango is often performed in milongas, which are social gatherings where tango enthusiasts come together to dance and enjoy the music. If you visit Uruguay, experiencing the Uruguayan tango is a must to understand the rich dance culture of the country.


Murga is a traditional musical and dance form that emerged in Uruguay during the 19th century. It is a combination of singing, dancing, and acting, often performed in a satirical or humorous manner. Murga groups, known as ‘comparsas,’ consist of singers, musicians, and dancers who come together to create a lively and entertaining performance. The dancers, dressed in colorful costumes and wearing masks, perform synchronized movements while singing and acting out comedic sketches. Murga is deeply rooted in Uruguay’s Carnival celebrations, where different comparsas compete for the best performance. This unique dance form allows for social and political commentary, making it an important cultural expression in Uruguay.

Popular Contemporary Dances


Cumbia is one of the most popular contemporary dances in Uruguay. Originating from Colombia, this rhythmic dance style has gained immense popularity among the Uruguayan population. The dance is characterized by its infectious beats and energetic movements, making it a favorite among both young and old dancers.

Cumbia in Uruguay has evolved into a unique style, incorporating elements from other Latin American dances. It is often performed in groups, with couples dancing in sync to the lively music. The dance moves are known for their fluidity and sensuality, with dancers gracefully gliding across the dance floor.

Attending a Cumbia dance event in Uruguay is a fantastic way to experience the local culture and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere. Many dance schools and clubs offer Cumbia classes for beginners, where you can learn the basic steps and techniques from experienced instructors.


Reggaeton is another popular contemporary dance style in Uruguay. Originating from Puerto Rico, this urban dance genre has taken the world by storm, including Uruguay. With its catchy beats and sensual movements, Reggaeton has become a favorite among the younger generation in the country.

The dance style combines elements of hip-hop, Latin American music, and Jamaican dancehall. It is characterized by its fast-paced footwork, body isolations, and provocative choreography. Reggaeton is often performed in clubs and parties, where dancers showcase their skills and express their individuality through the dance.

Learning Reggaeton in Uruguay is a great way to stay fit, meet new people, and connect with the local dance community. Many dance studios and academies offer Reggaeton classes for all skill levels, from beginners to advanced dancers. These classes provide a fun and supportive environment to learn the dance style and improve your technique.

In conclusion, Cumbia and Reggaeton are two popular contemporary dances in Uruguay that showcase the country’s vibrant dance culture. Whether you prefer the graceful movements of Cumbia or the energetic rhythms of Reggaeton, experiencing these dances in Uruguay is a must for any dance enthusiast. So, put on your dancing shoes and immerse yourself in the infectious beats of these popular dance styles in Uruguay!

Influence of African and European Cultures

African Influence

Uruguay, a country located in South America, has a rich cultural heritage that is greatly influenced by African traditions. The African influence in Uruguayan dance can be traced back to the times of slavery when African people were brought to the country. These African slaves brought with them their vibrant music, rhythmic movements, and distinctive dance styles.

One prominent dance form that showcases the African influence is called "Candombe." Candombe originated in the neighborhoods of Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital city, during the early 19th century. It is a rhythmic and energetic dance that combines elements of African tribal dances with the beats of drums and tambourines. Candombe is not only a dance but also a cultural expression that reflects the African heritage of Uruguayans.

The African influence in Uruguayan dance goes beyond Candombe. It can also be seen in other traditional dances like "Tango Afro," which blends African rhythms with the passionate movements of Tango. These dances serve as a reminder of the African contribution to Uruguay’s cultural tapestry.

European Influence

In addition to African influence, Uruguay’s dance culture is also shaped by European traditions. European immigrants, particularly from Spain and Italy, played a significant role in introducing and influencing various dance forms in the country.

One of the most popular European-inspired dances in Uruguay is the "Milonga." Milonga originated in the working-class neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, Argentina, but quickly spread to Uruguay. It is a lively and rhythmic dance that shares similarities with Tango. The European influence in Milonga can be seen in its elegant movements and musical style.

Another dance form influenced by European cultures is the "Polka." Polka is a lively and fast-paced dance that originated in Central Europe. It was introduced to Uruguay by European immigrants and became widely embraced by the local population. The Polka dance is characterized by its energetic footwork and lively music, making it a favorite among Uruguayans.

The blend of African and European influences in Uruguayan dance has created a unique and diverse dance culture that is celebrated and cherished by the people. Whether it is the rhythmic beats of Candombe or the elegant movements of Milonga, these dances represent the fusion of different cultures and serve as a testament to Uruguay’s multicultural heritage.

In conclusion, the dance that is popular in Uruguay is the Candombe. This traditional Afro-Uruguayan dance, with its rhythmic beats and vibrant costumes, holds a significant cultural importance in the country. It is celebrated during the Carnival season and showcases the rich African heritage of Uruguay. Whether you are a local or a traveler, experiencing the Candombe dance is a must to truly immerse yourself in the vibrant dance culture of Uruguay. So, next time you visit Uruguay, make sure to witness the energetic and mesmerizing Candombe dance for an unforgettable cultural experience.

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