It was a year of dance tunes on Billboard’s Latin charts. And when we say “dance,” we’re not talking EDM and we’re not talking songs that simply make you tap out the beat. We’re talking the kind of track that was designed for movement, that was conceived with a swivel of the hips and a pattern of the feet in mind.
While danceable beats have always been one of the driving forces of Latin hits across the ages, such an aim for the dance floor hadn’t been seen since the heyday of salsa and merengue on the charts.
Here are five tracks that not only made us hit the dance floor but also made us learn the moves.
5. Nicky Jam, “Hasta el amanecer”
Our year-end chart leader on Hot Latin Songs is irresistible. Any Latin guy que se respete (with a measure of self-respect) knows the best way to get to a girl’s heart is via the dance floor. The video of “Hasta el amanecer” ran the risk of getting creepy — the girl’s all alone, the guy is acting weird — until Nicky Jam grabs that mop and starts to dance. “Hasta el amanecer” spent 18 weeks at No. 1 on the chart.
4. J Balvin, “Ginza”
Balvin called “Ginza” “a party for reggaetoneros to come out of the closet.” And he pulled no punches about it: “If you need reggaeton, go for it. Keep on dancing baby, don’t stop.” “Ginza” was an immediate dance-floor (and exercise-class) hit that was able to make reggaeton, the dance, a global sensation. “Ginza” was No. 1 on Hot Latin Songs for a total of 22 weeks, dating to October 2015.
3. Deorro feat. Elvis Crespo, “Bailar”
DJ Deorro says he grew up listening to Elvis Crespo, and saw firsthand the power his songs had on a dance floor. “Bailar” (which translates to “Dance”) takes Crespo’s vintage, high-octane merengue and turns it up a notch with electronica for an even faster-paced version. Fear not: Merengue is far easier to dance to than reggaeton, one reason “Bailar” has soared as a global Shazam favorite, and why it’s getting airplay on non-Latin stations. The track peaked at No. 8 on Hot Latin Songs thanks mostly to streams.
BTW, that music video of the young boyfriend desperately trying to get past the father-in-law to get to his girlfriend’s birthday party? Priceless.
2. Shakira and Carlos Vives, “La bicicleta”
What do you get when you marry vallenato to cumbia? A dance rhythm that can travel across many countries. Like “Bailar,” “La bicicleta” begs to be danced with a partner, but the much-watched (and danced) zumba choreography has also made it solo fare. The track peaked at No. 2 on Hot Latin Songs, but has spent 27 weeks on the chart, all of them on the top 5.
1. Daddy Yankee, “Shaky Shaky”
And here we are at our No. 1 pick for Latin dance track of the year. “Shaky Shaky,” as in “Shake your booty,” was made precisely with that objective in mind. Clever Daddy Yankee, who’s a master at reaching fans in the digital arena, went on Musical.ly before the track was on radio or had a music video and asked fans to film themselves doing the “Shaky Shaky.” Some of that made it onto the music video, which shows a dance that you should only attempt if you’re a master at shaking that booty reggaeton-style. But “Shaky Shaky” transcends. It’s currently the soundtrack to a Walmart TV spot showing kids — of course — shaking Christmas gifts in an attempt to find what’s inside.