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A form of dance and a style of music, reggaeton first became popular amongst young Latinos in the early 1990s. Gaining popularity in the U.S., reggaeton combines a number of musical styles, from merengue to hip hop, to form a unique genre characterized by sensual lyrics and gyrating dance movements. Contraction is a beginning reggaeton move that is used in combination with other moves or simply on its own.
Keep your body loose and your movements smooth throughout the reggaeton contraction and other beginning moves. Reggaeton is characterized by fast, pulsing motions, however, the moves are always smooth and sensual. With practice, the reggaeton contraction will become second nature.
Spread your legs about shoulder width apart with the toes of your right foot pointed out slightly to the side. Lift your left arm, bending your elbow at a 90-degree angle and allow your right arm to rest at your side. Turn your upper body so that you are positioned slightly over your right leg. Your left leg should be straight behind you while your right leg is in front with the knee slightly bent.
Allow your body to fall forward as you push your chest out. Keep your chin up, looking straight ahead. Roll yourself down as you fall, allowing your back to curve gently into the motion. Fall only until your upper body is about 45 degrees from the floor and then arch your back and roll back up smoothly.
Continue the beginning reggaeton contraction, moving smoothly and easily to the beat of the music. Pay attention to your arms throughout, making sure they keep moving with the beat as well. Once you have mastered the move, you can begin moving it around, contracting down the right leg and up the left, over the left or simple to the center. This is a highly adaptable move that you can use and improvise upon on the dance floor.
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DJ Esteban - Reggaeton Mix
Illustration from Clyde Mendes column at Salsa TV, Singapore