The 14 Best Latino Dancers of All Time!

There’s plenty of great dancing in the new Footloose remake (opening nationwide tomorrow and starring Puerto Rican actress Ziah Colon), so we thought it was a great time to make a list of the best Latino dancers of all time! Check out our choices and tell us if you agree that these Latinos are the best of the best. 

Introducing 'Footloose' Star Ziah Colon

1. Dancers: Feijoo Sisters

Lorena and Lorna Feijoo

The Cuban sisters have been dancing on pointe since they were kids and their dedication and love of the art shows. Both are principals in major ballet companies. (Lorena at the San Francisco Ballet and Lorna at the Boston Ballet). Deemed two of the best in the world, their discipline, flawless form and artistic performances have enthralled ballet lovers everywhere.

 


2. Dancers: Rita Moreno

Rita Moreno

Moreno is from that generation of entertainers who knew how to sing, act and dance. And she’s done the latter with everyone from Ricardo Montalban (doing a very chaste dance in Latin Lovers) to The Muppets (where she did a hilarious tango dance). But of course, her signature dance moment came thanks to her Oscar-winning role as Anita in the film version of West Side Story. The curvy but petite Puerto Rican was full of sass.


3. Dancers: Ricky Martin

Ricky Martin

No, we’re not talking about those hilariously corny choreographed moves from his Menudo days. We’re talking about the manly, hip-popping sensuality that Martin busts out with whenever he’s on stage. This is, after all, the man who singlehandedly started the Latin pop explosion at the 1999 Grammys with a few hot moves.


4. Dancers: Chita Rivera

Chita Rivera

A Broadway singing, acting and dancing legend who originated the roles of Anita in West Side Story and Velma Kelly in Chicago, Chita is known for her flawless technical skills augmented by loads of personality. And girlfriend can still kick up her fabulous legs at age 78.

 


5. Dancers: Sara Baras

Sara Baras

Forget the polka dot dresses and mantas. Sure, Baras can rock those, but her contribution to flamenco is bringing it squarely into the 21st century with a modern take on the centuries-old art form, which includes wearing menswear that puts even more emphasis on a woman’s strong, seductive role in the Spanish dance.

 


6. Dancers: Norberto Esbrez

Norberto Esbrez

Nicknamed El Pulpo for his intricate, fluid moves (called pulpeadas), this Argentine tango dancer makes it impossible to look away when he’s onstage. Combine his legwork with that of a great partner and their bodies seem to be having a very sexy conversation that we can only guess at.

 


7. Dancers: Iris Chacon

Iris Chacon

She is basically J.Lo’s momma. Unapologetically voluptuous and sassy, “La Bomba de Puerto Rico” burned up TV sets throughout Latin America and Latino USA with her jiggle-filled dance variety show. A whole generation of little Latina girls grew up dancing along with her in their living rooms—and what a dance education that was: Chacon could dance everything from salsa to mambo to merengue (usually wearing tiny Vegas-style outfits).


8. Dancers: Chayanne

Chayanne

He’s the guy at the party that you spot on the dance floor and immediately want to cut in. Flexible and agile despite his tall frame, he projects such energy and fun onstage that you can’t help but imagine yourself up there with him. Yum.


9. Dancers: Carmen Miranda

Carmen Miranda

Forget the hats, OK? We know that with every movie she made, she wore a bigger hat with more fruit in it. But the headgear can’t distract from the sheer control and musicality of this Portuguese-Brazilian dancing legend.


10. Dancers: Alicia Alonso

Alicia Alonso

The Latina ballet grand-dame was so brilliant that she danced solos well into her 70s, when she was forced to step from the stage due to failing eyesight. As the longtime director of the National Ballet of Cuba, she is directly responsible for shaping some of the most renowned ballet stars. Now 90, she was recently honored with a special program by New York’s American Ballet Theatre.


11. Dancers: Joaquin Cortes

Joaquin Cortes

The man is sex in motion. Sensuality, masculinity and complete control of his body are what make this Spaniard stand out in a field crowded with flamenco legends. To watch him is to be mesmerized.

12. Dancers: Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez

Lopez is a force of nature who has built an empire from humble beginnings as a dancer. But she never left those skills behind as her latest video, "On the Floor," proves. Throughout her career, she’s mixed hip-hop, R&B and Latin moves to woo watchers. And she’s proved that you don’t have to be stick-thin to know how to move.

13. Dancers: Shakira

Shakira

Hips don’t lie—at least Shakira’s don’t. The colombiana with Lebanese blood perfected the art of bellydancing, then took it to another level, moving her body as if the top and bottom were connected by rhythm alone. After she left men trailing their tongues watching her dance, every girl we know went out and signed up for classes.

14. Dancers: Related Links