What is Pachanga?
Pachanga is a style of music and dance that originated in Cuba in the 1950s. Pachanga music (traditionally played by Cuban orchestras called “charangas”) is lighthearted and playful, and characterized by the heavy use of flutes in addition to violin, horns, and drums.
The following song (“Conmigo” by Eddie Palmieri) is an example of a typical pachanga song:
Many notable salsa and mambo musicians such as Tito Puente and Johnny Pacheco have written pachanga music, or salsa music inspired by pachanga, which has contributed to its popularity within the salsa dance community.
Pachanga dancing is a style of Latin dance that developed to go with pachanga music. It is characterized by a relaxed and bouncy movement coming from the bending of the knees, as well as slides and twists.
Pachanga was popularized within the salsa dance community in the early 2000s by Eddie Torres from New York, who incorporated pachanga steps into his choreography and began teaching the dance at congresses and workshops.
Eddie Torres teaching pachanga:
Tito and Tamara from Puerto Rico are also known for popularizing and teaching pachanga:
Pachanga has grown to become a staple dance within salsa shines (salsa footwork) and is danced both socially and in salsa dance choreographies, especially amongst the On2 dancing crowd.
The plaful and energetic movements of pachanga dancing naturally work together with salsa, and it is a dance step worth including in every salsa dancers’ repertoire.
How to Dance the Pachanga
The following video offers a good breakdown of how to start dancing the pachanga, for beginners: