How to Throw a Swingin' Latin Party

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A Latin dance party is an opportunity for dancers to shuffle to the sounds of a variety of musical genres, including funk, salsa, salsa, kaiso, reggaeton and bachata, styles that originated in Central and South America, Mexico, the Caribbean and Hispanic-American communities in America during the 20th century. It’s also a chance for guests to dress in their finest clothes and sample some of the most luxurious foods, drinks and desserts this culture has to offer.

How to Throw a Swingin' Latin Party
(Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media)

Send print invitations with decorative emblems such as flowers, maracas and elegant flamenco dancers to suggest the festive nature of the party, or send electronic invitations that provide the option of playing music when they’re opened. Use bold colors such as red, purple and orange with white lettering for added zest. Indicate within the invitations whether guests should dress casually or formally, and provide instructions in both Spanish and English.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media

Remove all the furniture from the main area to create a space large enough for dancing. Arrange rows of luminarias, candles that have been placed inside sand-filled paper bags, on both sides of the sidewalk leading up to the entrance to the party. Hang colorful blankets known as sarapes over tables and couches. Line the tables with brightly colored candles and place floating candles in the swimming pool if one is present. Create a floral centerpiece of begonias, nasturtiums and dahlias, or make tissue-paper flowers by folding four or more layers of tissue paper together.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media

Serve ceviche, fajitas and ensalada Rusa, a Russian style of potato salad popular throughout Latin America that consists of beets, lime juice, cumin, eggs and potatoes. Maintain a steady supply of chips to serve with black bean dip, salsa or guacamole. Offer traditional Latin desserts like sopapillas, bunuelos, a South American chocolate cake known as chocotorta, and suspiro limeno, a combination of caramel and meringue. For drinks, serve mojitos, margaritas or pisco sours, a popular cocktail in Peru.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media

Get the party moving with music by well-known singers such as Don Omar, Enrique Iglesias and Santana, or play Cuban-style jazz by artists such as Alfredo Rodriguez and Dizzy Gillespie. Hire an instructor to teach guests the finer points of samba- and tango-dancing. Evoke the cultural programs of the Puerto Rican communities in Harlem by setting aside a time in which individuals can partake in solo performances, including singing, speeches and slam poetry.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media

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