Social Dance


Quinceañera is the celebration of a girl’s fifteenth birthday in many Mexican and Latin American communities and is also know as fiesta de quince años, fiesta de Quinceañera and quince. The word, Quinceañera, is derived from the Spanish words “quince” which means fifteen and “años” meaning years. This important birthday marks the transition from childhood to womanhood for those who celebrate this milestone.

Dancing is often an important part of the Quinceañera celebration. In addition to the specialty dances like the Father Daughter Dance, Waltz group dance, and “surprise dance,” celebrants and guests often dance to Salsa, Cumbia, Cha Cha, Merengue, Bolero and Rumba music.

History of the Quinceañera

The Quinceañera’s origins date back to many centuries ago when both boys and girls participated in rites of passage. In preparation for womanhood, girls were separated from other children at a particular age so that the women could teach them about their upcoming roles as family and community members. During the official rites of passage, young women would vow to serve the community and the community would thank the gods for the future wives and mothers. Eventually missionaries turned the rite of passage into a personal affirmation of faith and the celebration became connected to the church.

Quinceañera Dances and Celebration Today

The Quinceañera celebration today is often a lavish party that can include many guests, very similar to that of a wedding. Planning of a Quinceañera can start early and family and godparents will save up money for the party until the girl is of age. Preparations can take anywhere from six months to two years. The dances included in the Quinceañera have to be learned and ready to be performed in front of the guests. Also, time is needed for deciding and preparing decorations, cakes, and dresses. Expos, websites, and magazines are all used today to help the Quinceañera plan her birthday celebration.

The Quinceañera today still includes the father and daughter dance. It continues to be one of the most emotional parts of the Quinceañera celebration as it symbolizes the birthday girl’s first dance as a young woman with her father. If the father is not available, usually an older man that has served as a father-figure will dance. The father and daughter dance is traditionally a waltz and it’s often an opportunity for the father to give his daughter words of encouragement as she takes her first steps into womanhood. Following the father and daughter dance, the Quinceañera chambelan (or the birthday girl’s escort) will approach the father and ask for permission to dance with the birthday girl. The family waltz usually follows the father and daughter dance where immediate relatives, and the closest friends of the Quinceañera dance a group waltz. Usually up to twenty dancers, ten gentlemen and ten ladies will make up the group waltz dance. Prior to the Quinceañera party the dancers will attend at least five to ten hours of instruction to prepare and be to be in sync for the day of the party.

The “surprise” dance portion of the Quinceañera, while optional, is often considered the most fun part of the party planning for the birthday girl. A choreographer is usually hired to help the Quinceañera plan a dance featuring herself dancing with her “damas” and “chambelanes” (or chamberlains). Any fun dance song is up for grabs. The chosen dance genre is wide and varied. Hip-hop, tango, Cha-cha, bachata, reggaeton and others have proven popular for the surprise dance. The surprise dance is a great opportunity for the Quinceañera to add personality to her party. The damas and chambelanes that perform the dance with the birthday girl dress in coordinating outfits to present the surprise dance. The birthday girl usually wears something that coordinates with her group but is a little different to set her apart making her the special feature of the performance. These costumes have to allow for movement and accommodate the dance while matching the personality of the dance.

Open floor dancing where guests are invited to do free style dancing is another big part of the Quinceañera celebration. DJs, dance shows, and even mariachis can be included in Quinceañeras today. In the United States, the music choices for the traditional dances are popularly in Spanish or English.

The Quinceañera is one of the few universal Latin American celebrations. The tradition is evolving today with American Latinas and is still very common with second and third generation Hispanic girls. Dance has always been and continues to be a very important and characteristic element of this celebration.

Quinceañera Latin Dance Songs

  • “Quinceñera” Musica Telenovela 05
  • “La Vaca” Mala Fe
  • “El Baile del Beeper” Oro Solido
  • “Píntame” Elvis Crespo
  • “El Baile del Perrito” Wilfrido Vargas
  • “La Dueña del Swing” Los Hermanos Rosario
  • “Oye Abre Tus Ojos” July Mateo Rasputín
  • “No Me Digas Que No” La Makina
  • “Mil Horas” La Sonora Dinamita
  • “La Pollera Colora” Los Inmortales
  • “Todo Me Gusta de Ti” Aaron y Su Grupo Ilusión
  • “Tiene Espinas el Rosal” Grupo Cañaveral
  • “Vivir Mi Vida” Marc Anthony
  • “Quimbara” Celia Cruz
  • “Sopa de Caracol” Banda Blanca
  • “1, 2, 3” Grupo Kazzabe
  • “La Morenita” Oro Solido
  • “Tu Sonrisa” Elvis Crespo
  • “Se Me Perdio la Cadenita” La Sonora Dinimita
  • “Guantanamera” Celia Cruz
  • “Fiesta” Banda Blanca
  • “Maria Se Fue” Oro Solido
  • “Sauvemente” Elvis Crespo
  • “Oye” La Sonora Dimimita
  • “La Negra Tiene Tumbao” Celia Cruz
  • “Latino Swing” Banda Blanca
  • “La Cortina” La Sonora Dinamita

Quinceañera Waltz Dance Songs

  • “Balada Para Adelina” Piano solo
  • “Butterfly Kisses” Bob Carlisle
  • “Chiquitita” ABBA
  • “Dance with My Father” Celine Dion
  • “Tiempo De Vals” Chayanne
  • “I Hope You Dance’ Lee Ann Womack
  • “My Girl” The Temptations
  • “El Vals de las Mariposas” Jose Guardiola
  • “Mi Viejo” Vicente Fernández
  • “Unforgettable” Nat King Cole & Natalie Cole
  • “Wind Beneath My Wings” Bette Midler

Quinceañera Father Daughter Dance Songs

  • “Amor Eterno” Various Artists
  • “Mi Princesa” David Bisbal
  • “Tu Guardian” Juanes
  • “El Privilegio de Amar” Mijares y Lucero
  • “Count On Me” Bruno Mars
  • “Landslide” Glee Cast
  • “How Sweet It Is” Michael Buble
  • “Stand By Me” Prince Royce
  • “Dance With My Father” Celine Dion
  • “Tu” Ricardo Arjona
  • “Cuando a Mi Lado Estas” Ricardo Montaner
  • “Daughters” John Mayer
  • “De Niña a Mujer” Julio Iglesias
  • “Entre Tus Alas” Camila

Quinceañera ‘Surprise’ Dance Songs

  • “Single Ladies” Beyonce
  • “Shake it Off” Taylor Swift
  • “Loose Control” Missy Elliot
  • “Scream and Shout” Britney Spears
  • “On the Floor” Jennifer Lopez
  • “Sigueme y te sigo” Daddy Yankee
  • “Bailando” Enrique Iglesias