In the movie Encanto there is a scene where a party is interrupted, then after a discussion Abuela wants everyone to resume the festivities.

Specifically, when she wants everyone to go back to dancing (https://youtu.be/NmsXPsWUvYA @1:10) why does she say "a bailar"? Wouldn't the imperative be "baila"? Or is she saying an abbreviated version of "(vamos) a bailar"?


2 Answers 2


(Not a native speaker here)

The imperative is used to command someone. EG ¡Baila! would be the command (second person singular affirmative) to tell someone to dance. (For first person plural it would be ¡bailemos!, and third person plural ¡Bailen!)

However in this case I don't think that Abuela is commanding them to dance. Instead she is inviting them to dance after the interruption in order to distract from anything that might be going wrong.

Such an invitation in English could be "Let's dance!", or in Spanish something like "¡Vamos a bailar!". And it's fairly obvious that you could drop the "vamos" and just end up with "¡a bailar!"


In Spanish, the infinitive preceded by a is used for: Let's.

A bailar = Let's dance. Or : Everybody dance.

A comer=Let's eat. Or: Dinner or lunch is served.

It's not an imperative. It's urging (exhortation) people to do something.

This usage is very common in Spanish for an activity.

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